31 JANUARY 1903, Page 10


Wood. By G. S. Boul,ger. (E. Arnold. 7s. 6c1.)—We can conceive few people taking up this book without finding some- thing to interest them in it. Everybody is more or less interested in wood, for it was a necessity before iron was thought of, and will continue to be so probably as long as the world lasts. Professor Boulger begins with the physiology—which is certainly most excellently illustrated—the colour, hardness, classification, and diseases of woods, with remarks as to their general use; and proceeds from a brief sketch of the timber-producing districts of the globe to an alphabetical list, with notes on qualities and uses, which is comprehensive enough for all practical purposes. The book thus forms a most useful work of reference. He enumerates seven hundred and fifty kinds of wood, but says that there are several thousand in use. Many people will be surprised to hear that the "chestnut" roofs we admire are oak. Professor Boulger does not mention the vermin-resisting qualities of chest- nut—perhaps they do not exist—or the resistance to weather of the canoe cedar. Posts of this wood exposed to the air and carved have resisted the weather for hundreds of years. We should have thought more information relating to the diseases, the storing, and the seasoning of wood might have been added; still, much of this is perhaps technical. Professor Boulger is careful not to poach on the domain of forestry, unless the pages on seasoning may be said to encroach. How common it is to see trees felled and left on the ground for years. Forestry is the really important branch of agricultural education which we have neglected, and a glance at Professor Boulger's Wood will bring home to us some startling facts. Our woodland forms a less percentage of the area of the country than woodland does of any other State ! The fact is almost incredible. The distribution of trees and woods in England is very misleading. Of course the area of woodland is increasing, and no country could be more readily planted, or would yield a quicker return for the planting of useful timber. The waste of timber in North America was pointed out by an American forestry expert in a treatise a few months ago. As long as the Canadian Government winks at the wasteful destruction of certain woods, and allows lumbermen to cut trees under the statutory limit of size, this will go on. This last offence is surely killing the goose that laid the golden egg. However, our readers by reading Wood and studying forestry will realise this for themselves.