13 FEBRUARY 1909, Page 13


[To THE EDITOR OP THE "SPECTATOR."] Sin,—If your excellent article on afforestation will ensure careful consideration before any wide scheme is carried out in Great Britain, every one should be grateful.

Professor Fisher says: "There are now in all parts of the United Kingdom woods that are as fine as any abroad" (Spectator, January 30th). We may conclude that this state- ment does not include Canada, where the number of cubic feet of timber per acre is much greater than anything grown in this country. In America and Canada the growth of timber and the way in which young trees thrive on old timber ground without human planting or assistance make forestry in Groat Britain more an interesting pastime than a directly profitable undertaking. The question should be asked whether Great Britain eau ever compete with America or Canada in timber, and whether it would not be more profitable to invest in Canadian timber a part of the sum suggested to be spent on afforestation in Great Britain. If it is a timber famine which we wish to avert, the forests of British East Africa are quite accessible, and there again it may be more profitable to develop forestry and a timber trade in that Protectorate than spend large sums on doubtful forestry in Great Britain. State or municipal trading rarely deserves encouragement, but objections to State trading in forestry are not so strong, for few private individuals will ensure the continuity of treat- ment necessary in forestry, nor can they often endure. the long period which must elapse between outlay of capital and return of profit.

Lastly, Sir, in your editorial note you suggest that land planted with timber by private individuals shall be free of all taxation, local and Imperial. That would be a relief almost too great to hope for. Our experience is that when treoa are

planted on land which in its natural state has a very low rateable value, the Assessment Committee raise their estimate of the rateable value of that land, and even though appeal may be made against such increased rates, the thought is forced up : Was it worth the planting.—I am, Sir, &o.,