FOUR-FIFTHS of the timber in the United States is in private hands. Its preservation depends absolutely upon what the owners choose to do with it. The owner of any part of it may allow his trees to stand uncut; or he may cut them under the prevailing method of destructive lumbering, so that a new forest will not replace the old; or he may consider his timber land as a permanent factory of wood and apply [he principles of forestry. This last is what the public welfare requires that he should do; but less than two per cent of the privately held timber lands of the United States are now being conservatively handled. With the threat of a timber famine so clearly before us that no man can deny the danger, we are treating four-fifths of our timber in the way best calculated to bring (n that famine with the least possible delay and in the most aggravated form. It is by no means wholly the fault of private timber land owners that they do not practise forestry. To practice forestry is to engage in a manufacturing business, the product of which is wood. Now no manufacturing business can succeed unless the products of the factory will bri n g more in the market than they cost to produce. This is not generally true today of the product of the forests. The e n orm o us accumulation of raw material (standing timber) which cost us of this generation nothing to grow in the first place, is the chief reason why the finished product (lumber, etc.) sells to-day in the United States for less than it would cost to grow, harvest, and manufacture it. This is not true in France, Germany, or other countries where forestry is practised. Under the laws and economic conditions which there obtain, a timber land owner who grows wood for th: market makes a reasonable interest on his money. Forestry, like any other industry, must become financially attractive before business men will take it up, and several basic conditions must be supplied before it can become so, Fo:' example, there must be a reasonable security against forest fires. As long as there is excessive danger that the investment may go up in smoke, the attractiveness of a long-time investment in growing wood must be very seriously reduced. There must be reasonable taxation. under which there will be a fair chance to make the business pay. The land upon which the trees grow should be taxed annually; but the growing forest crop itself should be taxed only when it is ripe for cutting. Other crops. like corn, pay but one tax before harvest. Unde:-present methods of taxation the timber crop may pay fifty or one hundred. There must be fairly uniform conditions imposed upon all competitors in the S:me market. While the difference in cost between conservative lumbering and ordinary destructive lumbering is but small, it is often sufficient to give one of two competitors control over a market which both are seeking. Thus if a State should require its lumbermen to burn their slashing, protect young growth, and generally to keep their forests in productive condition, while the State which imposed such conditions would be at a great permanent advantage, the lumbermen who were obliged to practise them would be 't a slight and temporary disadvaatage, as compared with those of a neighboring State whir! did not require these precautions. Since We must have lu.ber, it is clear that (Cn/lthue<l 1)1/ paU 17.) 136 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN August AMERICANAugust 12, UJl J SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN Founded 1S45 NEW YORK, SATURDAY, AUGUST 12, 1911 Published by .unn&Co .. Incorporated. Charies Allell :unn. Pi'esideut; l'rederick Converse Beach, Secretary and Ilreasurer; all at Bia Broadway. New Yur1;: Entered at the Post Otke of New York, N, Y .. as Second CI2sS Matter Copyright 1911 by llunn&Co", Inc, Subscription Rates Subscription ole year......................... $5.00 l'ustage prepaid in Lllited States aw possessions, Mexico, Cuba, and .allama Subscriptiolls for Foreign Countries, OIle year. postage prepaid, 4.50 Subscriptions for Cauida, one year, postage prepaid, ...... 3.75 The Sc i ent i f i c American Publications 3cientific American (established IRJ;) ......... per yeaf, $3.00 Scientific Amell can Supplement (eslabllshed 1876). .. “ 5,00 AmeI{an Homes aud Gardens.............. “ “ 3.00 The combined subscription rilles alld rates to foreign countries, including Canada, will be furnished upon appiieation. Remit ly postal or express mUlley order, valli( draft or check, Munn&CO., Inc., 361 Broadway, New York The Editor is always glad to receive for exanlillation illustrated articles on subjects of timely interest. If the photographs are siar)), the ar ticles slt(rt. and the facls <tiiJhcntic, the contributions will receive special attention. Accepled articles will be paid for at regular space rates. 'The purpose of this journal is to record accuratcly and in simple terms, the world's progress in scientifc lmowledge and industrial achievement. It seeks to present this information in a form so 1'eadable and re(dil! understood, as to set [orth and emphasize the inherent cha1lt and fascination oj' science. The Sin of National Improvidence AMONG the many questions of national signifcance which have recently been brought to the public attention, there are few which compare in importance with that of conservation, Not many thoughtful Americans will deny that extravagance is one of our distinctive national faults. At the frst thought, it may seem strange that the nation which has sprung from the thrifty settlers who founded Plymouth and Jamestown, and were schooled in the rough adversities of an unusually strenuous pioneer life, should have developed that very improvidence which the circumstances surrounding the life of the early settlers strictly forbade. Not alone in the beginnings of the nation, but for many a decade of its early existence, the conditions of life were exceedingly hard. Never, surely, did a race of men so literally earn its bread by the sweat of its brow as those resolute pioneers, who had to coax the means of life from the rock-encumbered hills and valleys of New England, or endure the prodigious toil of clearing away primeval forests before they could lay bare a patch of arable land from which to raise the food and feed for man and beast. It was in later years, when the van of pioneer conquest had bcen pushed out into the rich and unobstructed prairie lands of the 'Vest, that the American people began to realize with what lavish abundance nature stood rcady to pour forth her treasures, 'Vhen the cattle multiplied upon a thousand hills and the crops burst forth in luxurious abundance from the virgin soil, the pressing need for careful husbandry of resources was no longer felt. Hence it has come about that nature herself is largely responsible for that later extravagance, which led the American people to squandcr resources which they have come to regard and speak of as “practically inexhaustible." Cnfortunately, the habits learned on the farm have been carried into those great industrial activities, whose magnitude is one of the wonders of our modern life. If the riches of the soil were “inexhaustible,” so also seemed to be those of the forest, of the mine, and of the rivers and lakes and seas with their teeming millions. Hence it has come about that in our efort to gather only the riches which are immediately and easily accessible, we have been using up naturc's storehouse of raw material, ruthlessly destroying or lctting go to waste thousands of square miles of forest and millions of tons of coal and precious minerals. Year after year crops have been sown upon the once virgin lands, until, in sheer cxhaustion, they have refused to render the plenteous yield of former years, or even to yield any crops whatsoever-at least until the husbandman shall have restored some portion of those nutritive elements which are necessary to germination, growth and full fruition. We have all heard and read a great deal during the past few years about this subject of conselation; but it is a question whether many people have any just conception of how great has been the wicked waste of the past and how pressing is the need for future economy. The present issue of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAX is published in the hope that it may put this whole question in its true light, and show exactly what are the present conditions and what are the methods which have been pursued by the Federal Government, in the effort to repair the damage which has been done, and properly conserve those natural resources upon which not only the' prosperity, but the very life of the nation depends. The articles are written by men who, because of their position at the heads of the several departments which are devoted to conservation, are possessed of a full knowledge of the flcts and are qualifed to state the case with authority. The conservation number is issued in the belief that it will not only answer a thousand questions whjeh have arisen in the mind of the American public, but will also make clear the necessity for a most earnest and intelligent co-operation with the government in this great national work. The Hand That Wrecks the Cradle IN a recent editorial in these columns, we spoke of the work which the modern eugenist is doing to arouse the public conscience not only to the possibilities of improving the human race by proper selection of parent types, but to the far more vital matter of mere self preservation. \Ve called attention to Pearson's statement that Z5 per cent of the present generation is producing 50 per cent of the next; that imbeciles, paupers, criminals and defectives were reproducing faster than manufacturers,, merchants, lawyers and physicians; that, in a word, if the present form of society is to continue, something must be done to prevent the perpetuation of defective classes. To those readers who may take more than a casual interest in the subject, we commend the reading of Prof. \Villiam E. Kellieott's “Social Direction of Human Evolution,” a book which presents in a popular and yet authoritative manner the dangers that beset society. That these dangers are not mere dreams, that heredity does play the major part in the prevention of desirable and undesirable classes alike, is only too easily demonstrated in order to drive home the ncctssity of a careful study of human heredity. We have only to cite Poellmann's study of a family established by two daughters of a woman drunkard, who in fve or six generations produced all told 834 descendants, of whom over 700 were professional beggars, inmates of almshouses, criminals and incompetents of various degrees, and to contrast with that degenerate family the 1,394 descendants of ,onathan Edwards, most of whom occupied distinguished positions in educational institutions, in the diplomatic service, in political life, in commercial afairs, and in litcrature. Environment plays but a small part in this process of conscious race improvement. Free public libraries, clean houses, modern sanitation cannot correct bad blood. Slums, sweatshops and dirt are bad, not because they breed criminals, but because they may kill off classes which, if nourished, might become strong ind healthy stocks. \hat is wanted is a more painstaking and scientific study of the germ plasm that develops a healthy or unhealthy strain, rather than more asylums and prisons for the correction and punishment of offenders. A philanthropist who will wisely donate to that cause the funds which would otherwise fnd their way to the coffers of charitable institutions should earn everlasting fame. Greater than any political issue, greater than the building of more universities and libraries, greater even than the abolition of standing armies, is any movement which has for its obj ect the direct improvement of the human race. The sociologist has had his day. His statistics of people who are ill fed and ill housed, can serve no other purpose than that of indicating the need 2£ better accommodations for the poorer classes in the effort to uplift them, It is to the biologist to whom society must turn—the man who can def-nitely point out why this or that strain is undesirable, why this family should not be married intp, because of its questionable ancestry, why that stoek is desirable because from it there had sprung men and women of genius, Able work in this direction is now being done in England under the guidance of Prof. Karl Pearson of the Eugenics Laboratory of the University of London, and in America by the Committee on Eugenics of the American Breeders' Association, of Cold Spring Harbor, N ew York. Only a beginning has been made, but a beginning that has shown that behind the phrase “race suicide” which was bandied about a fev years ago, there looms a danger far greater than most of us reali:e, It is becoming increasingly evident that good blood means not simply descent from an aristocratic race, but descent from a race physically and mentally and morally strong. \hen we consider that, according to the latest available census reports, there are among our 90,- 000,000 people at least ZOO,OOO who are insane and feeble minded; 100,000 who are blind; 100,000 who are blind and deaf and dumb; 80,000 who are paupers in institutions, two-thirds of whom have children physically or mentally deficient; 100,000 prisoners, several hundred thousand more who ought to be prisoners; Z3,000 juvenile delinquents in institutions; and Z,OOO,OOO who are in hospitals, dispensaries, and “homes” of various kinds; and lastly, when we consider that this rough total of nearly 3,000,000 defectives is capable of transmitting its tainted protoplasm to the next generation, there is indeed room for the new science of race improvement, and room, too, above every asylum and prison portal, for Rentoul's epigrammatic utterance: "The hand that wrecks the cradle wrecks the nation." A C h em ical Solution of the Potash Problem I T is a most humiliating fact that Am erica must buy all her potassium salts from Gcrm any-hum iliating because they are absolutely necessary in renewing the fertility of our soils. Our farmers paid the Fatherland $8,000,000 last year for this one element, importing ]60,000 tons of potassium chloride as well as large quantities of potas-, sium sulphate. Germany is very fortunate in possessing the wonderful Stassfurt deposits of mixed salts, for she has practically a monopoly of the potassium market of the world. Their government has recently given ofcial sanction to an efort of a German trust to put up the price, although the stuf is cheaply mined. Here in America we have enormous deposits of phosphate rock and from various sources such as stockyards, Chili saltpeter, the air, etc., arc assured unlimited nitrogen, but our crops demand, in addition to phosphorus and nitrogen, the third element potassium. In spite of the fact that we send #8,000,000 a year out of the country for potassium, we have enormous quantities of it at home in feldspar rock. The slow weathering of this rock makes some of it available for plant use in soluble form,. and our unfertilized soils owe much to this fact. Heavy cropping, however, removes this necessary element faster than Nature prepares it in suitable form for plant use, and so arises the need of fertilizer to make good the loss. The facts we must face then are these: Potassium chloride is quickly taken up by crops, but feldspar is too slowly available to maintain the fertility of the soil. Therefore our American problem is to make potassium chloride from our abundant feldsIar by chemical means. \Vhen that is done cheaply we may snap our fngers at Germany, for we will have all our plant food at home, Even if such a process could not quite compete with the German salts at present prices the fact that we were prepared, if needs must, to make our own potassium chloride would be a wholesome restraint on exorbitant price raising. It is encouraging to every patriot to learn that the chemistry of this much-desired process las been fairly well developed. By heating finely ground feldspar with calcium chloride (a cheap by-product of soda making) and some limestone the potassium can be extracted as the soluble potassium chloride. The residue is suitable material to calcine further into cement. The cost at present is much too high, but the sale of the cement would reduce this. One ton of feldspar rock may yield 190 pounds of potassium chloride worth $4.50 and five or six harrels of cement worth as much more. In making our annual allowance for this fertilizer we would throw on the market 7,000,000 barrels of cement-at present we use 65,000,000, The experts of the Tarif Board urge the appointment of a national commission of chemists, geologists, engineers and business men to work out the problem on a scientific and economic basis. There is more to it than chemistry alone. Not the least factor is the location of raw materials and transportation difficulties. 'Ve owe it to our economic independence to attack this question, not from individual business motives, but from motives of the purest patriotism. Science for Its Own Sake SIR JA:IES DEWAR recently pointed out that the whole cost of a century's research of experiments at the Royal Institution has been only about $600,000. 'hat an insignifcant sum to pay for the benefits mankind had received from the splendid investigations of Young, Davy, Faraday, Tvndall, Dewar himself, and others, comments the London Times, Yet most of the labors of these men were carried out honoris causa, and not for immediate material benefit. August 12, lUll SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN 13' (Concluded from, pane 1-1(.1 the duty to surround the industry of growing wood with such eonditions as will make it attractive rests squarely upon the people of the United States. The penalty for shirking this duty is a famine of one of the three great raw materials : coal, iron, and wood. The p80ple, then, have obviously :hirked some part of their duty by failing to make forestry easily praeticable. The lumbermen of the United States, it is true, have received from the government more practical help toward the introduction of forestry than has ever been offered to the lumberren of any other-country. Information of all kinds, co-operation, awl practical examples have all been supplied plentifully and well. The United States Forest Service has given encouragement and assistance to th3 lumber fraternity to a degree wholly without example in any other country. As a nation, we have neglected to prov:de, the conditions necessary for all this help to have its most useful -ffect, and the conditions for practical forestry created under our laws leav? much to be desired. Still the government has been most generous to the lumbermen in very many respects. Thus under the land laws, which have been bad, and their administration, which has been worse, the lumbermen have acquired timber land very easily, and a great concentration of timbel” ownership has been allowed to grow up. According to the official figures of the Commissioner of Corporations one hundred and ninety-five owners now control forty per cent of the standing timber of the United States. Three corporations, the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, the Southern Pacific Company, and the Northern Pacific Railway Company' with their subsidiary companies, 'have nearly eleven per cent of all our privately owned forests. Less than half a century ago, the government owned not less than three-fourths of the standing timber in the United States. To-day, only one-fifth of all standing timber is publicly owned, while four-fifths have passed into private ownership, together with the land upon which this timber stands. The men who hold this land own it in fee simple. It is useless to expect that they will handle it in such a way as to reduce the amount of concentration. The whole trend of our commercial development is toward great combinations of property in all the fields of industry. It is worse than useless to imagine that the old days of unrestricted competition can be restorecl by any legal devices whatsoever, even if it were desirable to do so. The remedy for evils of this kind is not unrestricte.l competition, which it is perfectly obvious can never NATIONAL AND PRIVATE OWNERSHIP return, but government control and regulation of combinations, concentrations, and monopOlies. Forestry is of such a nature that unrestricted competition between the owners of timber lands leads not to forest protection but to destruction and waste. Of all concentrations which exist, there is none in which government regulation is more essentially and immediately necessary than in the concentration of standing timber. Of late years lumbermen and forest.. ers have been most friendly. The foresters have been listened to, encouraged, and assisted by the lumbermen, whose response to the foresters has been in many ways most graCfying. They have done everything that could have been expected of them, except to practise forestry. They profess themselves desirous of doing so. It is of the first importance to the nation that they should, and the time to begin is at once. The great interstate concentration of timber land ownership has made clear the duty of the nation to interfere for the protection of the legitimate interests of us all, lumbermen included. Since the nation owns but a small fraction of the standing timber, and since the wise handling of all of that timber is essential for the future welfare of the country, there remains nothing for the peop'e to do but to accept the situation and regulate the handling of private f6rest land. There is nothing revolutionary in such a doctrine. The Swiss, a people far more democratic than ourselves, have long ago adopted it, and the Federal Government protects and regulates the forests necessary for the general welfare. In the Republic of France, this doctrine is one of the fundamental conceptions of government. There is obviously no more reason why an individual in the United States should be allowed tl handle his own forests in a way to injure the public welfare than why he should be allowed to use his own property in a city so as to endanger the public health. I am far from having any quarrel with the fullest exercise of State sovereignty over the forests within the boundaries of each State. But the problem of the forests; like the problem of the streams, is by its veri nature an interstate affair. It may t:ke long to work it out, but before we :ue through with it the regulation of the lumber industry in the interest of the public welfare must be and will be accomplished mainly by the nation itself. There are then two principal things to be done. First, the States and the nation must improve the conditions which now surround and retard the practice of forestry by private owners. Second, the destruction of our forests by the privah owners of timber lands 'lust b2 stoppwl. I anticipate with confidence that the lumbermen wi!: give their powerful help in the task, but whether they do or not, the problem is far larger than anything except the nation itself, and the general welfare must control.