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Potentialities of the Forests of Latin America

Nature volume 150, page 89 (18 July 1942) | Download Citation



PROF. S. J. RECORD of the School of Forestry, Yale University, raises the question of the utilization of the “enormous areas” of potentially commercial forest in Latin America in a brief article in Tropical Woods (No. 70. Yale University ; June, 1942) that deserves wide consideration. He points out the reasons for the lack of demand for tropical lumber. Tropical timbers are different from those growing in the north temperate zone ; they may not be inferior but their technical properties are unknown to the consumer. Private commercial concerns naturally do not face the trouble and expense involved in trying out the utility of the new wood for their purpose and they have no guarantee of continuity of supply of the new type. The plain lack is that of subsidized laboratory facilities to make pilot tests on the utility of available timber, to trace defects in supply to their source, to encourage good forestry management and exploitation and to educate the trade in the utilization of the new wood in manufacturing processes. Prof. Record concludes: “Science and Engineering together can find a way to use the tropical forest as a whole and make it a perpetual source, not only of plywood and lumber, but also of unlimited quantities of cellulose, a basic material with a myriad actual and potential applications in industry.”

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