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Afforestation in Great Britain

Nature volume 134, page 284 (25 August 1934) | Download Citation



IN view of the conditions of drought experienced in 1933, the fourteenth Annual Report of the Forestry Commissioners for the year ending September 30, 1933 (H.M. Stationery Office, 1934) may be read with satisfaction. Since the Commissioners commenced their afforestation work, the only comparable drought in Great Britain was that of 1921; the losses in the nurseries and new plantations were far less in 1933 than in 1921. Equally satisfactory is the comparison of fire losses with those of the bad fire year 1928-29, even though the drought in 1933 was more prolonged. This is attributed to the fact that the whole system of fire prevention and fire protection was overhauled after 1928-29, and with success; since the acreage burnt in 1932-33 was 1,313 com pared with 4,574 acres in 1928-29. It is of interest to note that 50 per cent of the fires in plantations during 1932-33 originated from sparks from railway engines, whilst 19 per cent were caused by the general public. With the growing area of coniferous woods in the country, as a public property, it would appear that railway managements should take steps to minimise this wasteful destruction. The Com missioners continued their planting work, the total area dealt with (planted or sown) during the year amounting to 21,037 acres, of which 19,160 acres were conifers and 1,877 acres broad-leaved species. The total area planted by the Commissioners during the fourteen years amounts to 232,711 acres, of which 217,919 acres are under conifers and 14,792 under broad-leaved species. During the same period, 95,228 acres have been planted by local authorities and private owners with the help of State assistance; the area during 1932-33 amounting to 4,580 acres. Land acquisitions during the year amounted to 17,591 acres, 15,335 acres being classified as plant-able land. The Commissioner's policy of establishing training camps for the unemployed resulted in five new camps being formed, the total number being thus augmented to twelve.

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