20 JANUARY 1950, Page 18

Spare the Trees

are loud and plaintive laments for the excessive destruction of trees are heard in the land, not least in Sussex. All sorts of people are held responsible. In one case a beautiful grove of beech close to the village and belonging to the village, has been felled by the village council Used, the unkindest cut of all. In some places the Forestry Commission, a body most undeservedly detested in very many districts, has felled oak and beech to make room for conifers. Over-taxed landlords have had to cut in order to keep possession of their estates, or have sold to speculators whose one object is to make money. The result is that the reserve of timber, which saved us in the war, is gone. Felling has been accelerated rather than halted by the coming of peace. There is no doubt at all that it is excessive. Trees are something more than a crop ; they are the very pillars of the English scene ; but the reasons for their preservation are very much more than aesthetic. Their indiscriminate felling is the com- monest preface to denudation, that No. 1 enemy to civilisation.