THE TIMBER FORESTS OF NEW ZEALAND.
TO THE EDITOR. Sir,—l have it on the authority of one of the largest millowners in the Southland district that it is estimated that at the present rate of cutting, and taking into account the existing and probable demands upon our forests, the available bush land in that district will be to all intents and purposes denuded in a period averaging between thirty and forty years honcc. What Is going on in Southland exitts in other parts of the colony in a presumably like proportion. Bush is being foiled at an inconceivable pace, and no attempt is being made to conserve forests either for an economic or fanciful end. Neither does it appear that,
except perhaps in a very meagre and halfhearted degree, plantations are being established, and for the very cogent reason that farming land pays in just the inverse ratio to plantation culture. A call will doubtless be made upon the people of this colony some day to account for their present apathy in the matter.
Admitting that tho timber being cut is to fill existing requirements, the conservation of forests then becomes a national question. Individuals can scarcely be expected, in the year of grace 1889, to be sufficiently appreciative of the possible wants of the next generation; but the fact remains that the want will exist and be felt unless something be done. A paternal Government, with an ex-Premier who depicts the rosy probabilities of a.d. 2000, should not shrink from openly conceiving the possible wants and vacancies of that century, amongst which the needs of forest conserves will assuredly take a primary place, A Royal Commission in Victoria, in 1887 I believe, dealt with the question in the interests of that colony, and after scientists and even bishops had clamored for action in tho matter of a future water supply and health requirements, the Commission certainly dealt exhaustively with it, and plantations were recommended and established. The New Zealand Government must be aroused to the fact that the position of affairs in this colony must likewise be inquired into, and a scheme of practical proportions devised to reserve and hold certain Crown lands with available virgin bush and forest, to remain as the people’s heritage in different parts of the colony, Otago and Southland have an equally inalienable right to express an opinion upon the kauri forest growths of Auckland province as Aucklanders themselves, and if tho voice calling upon the Government to conserve the rights of forests possessing trees 72ft in circumference, and which it is computed have taken in some cases as many as 3,600 years to grow [vide ‘ Forest Flora of New Zealand,’T. Kirk, F.L.S., Wellington, 1889), does not emanate from themselves the people of Otago will, no doubt, claim to have a voice in the matter, and urge the Government to reacquire lands possessing such colossal memorials for the nation. New Zealand possesses . bush scenery which tho world might well covet. Tourists and pleasure seekers come and will come in future days to explore this fairyland of wonder and science; and shall it be said that we are ruthlessly destroying the growth of ages in a manner worthy only of barbarians ! The object of this letter is to induce a speedy action to be taken in the conservation of these monarchs of the forest in the interest not only of New Zealand but of the wide world, They have come to us a distinct trust, and surely it shall not be said it has been abused.—l am, etc., Thomas Kelsey. Dunedin, October 24.
Permanent link to this item
THE TIMBER FORESTS OF NEW ZEALAND., Evening Star, Issue 8052, 31 October 1889
THE TIMBER FORESTS OF NEW ZEALAND. Evening Star, Issue 8052, 31 October 1889
Using This Item
Allied Press Ltd is the copyright owner for the Evening Star. You can reproduce in-copyright material from this newspaper for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons New Zealand BY-NC-SA licence. This newspaper is not available for commercial use without the consent of Allied Press Ltd. For advice on reproduction of out-of-copyright material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide.