- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 18 Apr 1907, p. 325-336
- Langelier, C.J., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- The speaker, expressing the opinions of the mass of the French-Canadians in the matter of allegiance to Britain. French-Canadian loyalty to Britain. Various estimates of the forest area of Canada. The factor of inaccessibility which renders part of the forest domain practically unavailable. The available portion of the Canadian forests which far exceeds the superficies of the forests of any other country in the world. Some statistics from several other countries. The predomination of conifers in the forests of Canada, with spruce being by far the most abundant growth. Forest yields per acre of sawtimber, cords, pulpwood, etc. Annual productions. Potential for increases of production. Current market prices and product values. Some dollar figures. The lack of substitutes for spruce in the manufacture of paper; potential use for the foreseeable future. Figures for pine, next to spruce our most valuable forest asset. The value of the big trees of British Columbia and of the foothills in Alberta. The Douglas fir as the stable species of the forests of British Columbia. Details about cedar, another valuable species of our forests. Products from parts of some trees, such as the tannin found in the bark of western hemlock and the Douglas fir. Our almost limitless quantity of material for railway ties, bridge work, trestles, frame for large buildings and car works. The hardwoods of Ontario and the Eastern Provinces. Proper management and fair protection against fire which provide for an inexhaustible forest. Estimates for the exhaustion of the present timber supply in the United States, conveying an idea of the potentialities of our forest industry and of the necessarily increasing value of our woodlands.
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- 18 Apr 1907
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- Full Text
- THE FOREST WEALTH OF CANADA.
Address by Mr. C. J. Langelier, of Quebec, before the Empire Club of Canada, on April 18th, 1907
Mr. President and Gentlemen,--I am very glad to have an opportunity of expressing to you the opinions of the mass of the French-Canadians in the matter of allegiance to Britain. Quebec is the country in which I was born. When I was at college with you, Mr. Murray, you could hardly find, in a radius of twenty miles about St. Hyacinthe, a man who could say "yes" in English. My family is one of the oldest French-Canadian families in the country, and I can say without fear of serious contradiction, that the sentiment of the whole mass of the population is one of loyalty to Britain, and that what was said before Confederation, "that the last shot for the defence of England in Canada would be fired by a French-Canadian," is still true. We French-Canadians have, of course, a great many imperfections, but there is something else that we have; we have gratitude, and we cannot forget that here in Canada under the British crown, surrounded by a British population, we have more liberty than any other Catholics in the world. There is no other country in the world which is more free. We are protected by the British Court of justice (Judicial Committee), and I may say snore than that; we would go before a Court presided over by an English-speaking judge with more confidence than before a Court presided over by a French-Canadian. I say this as a French-Canadian, and as I am the son of a farmer, and all my family were farmers, I know just as well as a man can know, the real sentiment of the people.
You can go into the remotest part of the French Canadian settlements anywhere, and generally you will find the portrait of one of the Popes, and alongside of it, a portrait of that good Queen Victoria, and a portrait of King Edward. They are there without any pretension at all. The one is the guide of our conscience, and the other flee protector of our religious liberty. Of course, gentlemen, you will sometimes have people, young men and others, who will make roes about British rule, as you know very well. You have them, I suppose, among the English people just the same. There are always people who want to catch public opinion, but if you take the opinions of the mass of French-Canadians, it is just as I have been expressing it. If you could travel through our country and ask any French-Canadian if he would prefer to make a change from British rule, he would say, "Why? We cannot be better off than we are now; why should we change?" Take the higher classes, our clergy; they cannot forget that in 1852 the Queen granted them religious liberty, and it was at that time a great point. As far as the United States is concerned, I do not think there is any sentiment whatever which tends in that direction. Their constitution would do away with two points to which we stick more than anything else; religion and nationality. Suppose that the Province of Quebec were a part of the United States. We would have to pass our laws in English. Under British rule, we can do it in French, and we are perfectly at home. I know that in a Club like this, you never interfere in politics. I belong to a family of French Liberals. We are all Liberals, but what I am speaking now, is the opinion of the Conservative party just as it is of the Liberal party. We are all unanimous in this respect. I turn now to the subject of my address.
The forest area of Canada has been variously estimated. According to a careful estimate made in 1894 by Mr. George Johnson, then Dominion Statistician, our forests would occupy a superficies of 1,348,798 square miles, or 863,230,72o acres. Nine years later, Dr. Robert Bell, who had spent more than forty-five seasons exploring in all parts of Canada, stated in an address delivered at Ottawa that the forests of Canada stretch from Labrador to Alaska, a distance of 3,700 miles, and have an average breadth of 700 miles, forming an area Of 2,590,000 square miles, or 1,657,600,000 acres, which is about fifty times the area of England and upwards of twenty-one times the area of the United Kingdom. In the Lectures on Forestry, which he delivered at the School of Mining, Kingston, in 1903, Dr. B. E. Fernow says that statistics show that Canada has 800,000,000 acres of wood-land. The learned Director of the New York State College of Forestry adds that " of this vast acreage probably not fifty percent may be considered as forest land fit for timber production, the rest, perhaps, able to satisfy domestic and pulp-wood demands, but not to be considered in connection with timber requirements."
Canada has much more than 800,000,000 acres of woodlands covered with spruce fit for domestic and pulp-wood demands, but inaccessibility renders part of that forest domain practically unavailable. Deducting this unavailable portion, the area mentioned by Dr. Fernow is correct. With regard to area, the available portion of the Canadian forests far exceeds the superficies of the forests of any other country in the world. The last Census assigns to the wood-lands of the United States an area of 670,000,000 acres, which is 130,000,000 acres, or 20 percent less than the forest acreage of Canada. In Europe, Russia possesses by far the largest acreage of wood-lands; its forests cover an area of 457,135,E acres, or about 57 percent of the area of the Canadian forests. Sweden comes next, with a forest domain of 76,795,888 acres, or a little more than 9 per cent of our wood land acreage.
In the rest of Europe, the most valuable forests are found in Prussia, 21,111,421 acres; Bavaria, 6,243,46o acres; Wurtemburg, 1,377,000 acres: Alsace-Lorraine, 1,150,000 acres; Saxony, 962,000 acres; Baden, 803,069 acres; Hesse, 612,020 acres; SaxeWeimar, 231,420 acres; SaxeMeiningen, 264,310 acres (making for those parts of the German Empire 32,755,510 acres); France, 23,600,000 acres; Austria, 47,993442 acres; Switzerland, 2,115488 acres; Norway, 2,265,567 acres; Denmark, 648,090 acres. Making a fair allowance for the countries whose wood-land areas are not reported it may be said that the total extent of the woodlands of Europe, including Russia and Sweden, is about 670,000,000 acres, viz., the same area as that of the forests of the United States, but 130,000,000 acres, or twenty percent less than the area of the available portion of our Canadian forests.
Conifers predominate in the forests of Canada, and amongst those conifers spruce is by far the most abundant growth. As a rule, our spruce forests are very dense and yield to the acre comparatively large quantities of saw-logs and pulpwood. In the Chicoutimi district the average run of pulp-wood is about twenty cords, or 12,000 feet B.M. to the acre. Taking the whole of our wood-lands, and making allowance for burnt spaces, windfalls and bare rocks, it may be said without fear of serious contradiction, that on an average the available forests of Canada can yield to the acre 1,000 feet B.M. of sawtimber, and 3 cords, or 1,800 feet B.M. of pulp-wood, or a total of 3,000 feet B.M. per acre. At this rate, the spruce growing on our 800 million acres of wood-lands is sufficient to make 900 billion feet of saw-timber and 2,400 million cords of pulp-wood. At 50, cents per M. for saw-timber and 25 cents per cord for pulp-wood, the stumpage of our spruce forests would be worth one billion dollars. Now, what can we get annually out of those forests? Under proper management, and in favourable situations, it is a well-known fact that spruce reproduces within twenty to thirty years. The growth is slower in poor, thin soils and northerly situations. But even in such less-favoured conditions, spruce reproduces within one hundred years. Let us take this latter period of growth for a basis of calculation in order to find the quantity of spruce which may be cut annually without injuring the perpetuity of the forest. If reproduction is effected within too years, the annual growth is the tooth part of the present stand Viz., 24 billion feet B.M. Judging by the Census of 1901, the yearly cut for domestic purposes and export is, in round numbers, 5 billion feet B.M., or a little more than the fifth part of the annual growth. Therefore we could increase by five times our annual consumption without in the least affecting the perpetuity of our forests. Doubling the quantity required for home consumption, and raising it to ten billion feet per annum, to meet the increase of our population, there are still left 14 billion feet for exportation, viz., 5 billion feet of sawtimber, and 9 billion feet, or 15 million cords, of pulp-wood.
At current market prices, the products of the sawtimber are worth $12.00 per M., which represents $60,000,000 for the 5 billion feet which could be exported, Pulp-wood, ready for shipment, is worth $5.00 a cord. At this price the 15 million cords which we could export annually would yield $75,000,000. But under a truly national policy, and by forcing the manufacturing of our spruce in Canada, instead of allowing it to be shipped and manufactured outside of Canada, we could draw much more from the immense source of wealth we possess in our spruce forests. Out of the 9 billion feet of pulp-wood available yearly for exportation, we could manufacture 9 million tons of paper, or enough to supply the whole world. At $40 a ton, the annual value of this paper industry would amount to $360,000,000, or nearly a million dollars for each day of the year. In 1903, the whole wheat crop of the United States was 399,867,250 bushels, valued at $286,242,849, or nearly $74,000,000 less than the value of the 9 million tons of paper which we could manufacture for exportation. Then we have the 1o billion feet reserved for domestic purposes and home consumption. At $8.00 per M., this represents $.80,000,000. Resuming these data, we have
For the products of spruce saw timber . . . . . . . . . . . $ 60,000,000 For the products of spruce manufactured into paper for exportation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360,000,000 For spruce used for home consumption . . . . . . . . . 80,000,000 Forming a total of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $500,000,000
So far, scientists have not been able to find substitutes for spruce in the manufacture of paper, and there is every reason to believe that for generations to come the great staple species of our Canadian forests will be the peerless material used in the manufacture of paper. In America, the United States are our only possible competitors in the paper industry. But their spruce forests are nearly depleted. In 1900 the supply was estimated at 50 billion feet B.M. by the Census officers; with an annual consumption of 2,363.028,891 feet, viz., 1,488,000,091 feet for lumber, 696,070,800 feet for pulpwood, and 218,958,000 feet for shingles. At this rate, the annual cut during the seven years elapsed since the date of the Census has reduced the stand of spruce by upwards of 23 billion feet, and brought it down to 27 billion feet, or barely enough for a ten-year supply. For lumber and building timber, the United States can replace spruce by some other kinds of wood; but for the manufacture of paper they are bound to get spruce or get out of the business, particularly as regards their export trade.
Next to spruce, pine is our most valuable forest asset. Our stand of white and red pine may be estimated at 100 billion feet B.M. At $4.00 per M., the stumpage of our pine forests is worth $400,000,000. And the value of this asset increases rapidly as the depletion of the white pine forests of our neighbors progresses. In the New England States, New York and Pennsylvania, the stand of white pine was 3 billion feet B.M. in 1900, and the annual cut, as shown by the Census, was over 952 million feet, so that the whole stand is now gone. In the three lake States, the stand and the annual cut shown by the Census were
Stand Annual Cut Michigan............... 6,000,000,000 ft. 1,306,002,000 ft. Wisconsin.............. 15,000,000,000 " 2,572,593,000 " Minnesota.............. 11,190,000,000 " 2,358,536,000 " 32, 190,000,000 ft. 6,237,131,000 ft.
If cutting progressed nearly at the same rate since the Census of 1900, upwards of 42 billion feet have been removed, and there should not be much left now of the ascertained stand of 32 billion feet. With the decrease, we a might say the exhaustion, of supplies in the United States and the increase of their needs for imported white pine, the value of our Canadian pineries rises by leaps and bounds. At $20 per m/, the 100,000,000,000 feet of pine lumber which our forests can yield, represent an industrial value of two billion dollars.
The big trees of British Columbia and of the foothills in Alberta constitute forests of great value. The Douglas Pine (Pines monticola), Engelmen Spruce, Menzie's or Sitka spruce, western hemlock, Douglas fir, red cedar, yellow cedar or yellow cypress, constitute a forest growth which is perhaps worth more than all the mines of that Province, except its coal measures. When the Panama Canal is open, British Columbia will be in a position to compete successfully for the trade of the West Indies and South America, which will add largely to its lumber business and to the commercial value of its forests. Its red and yellow cedar, which take such a brilliant polish, and are so admirably adapted for interior finishing and the manufacture of furniture, are destined to replace white pine as it disappears in the Eastern Provinces. Menzie's spruce will likewise replace white pine in the manufacture of doors and window sashes, and already Douglas fir is imported into Ontario and Quebec for structural purposes. The building of new railways through British Columbia will facilitate the shipment eastwards of forest products, and of necessity increase the commercial value of the immense forests of that Province.
The Douglas fir is the staple species of the forests of British Columbia. It grows everywhere as far north as the Skeena River, by 54 deg. of latitude, except on the Queen Charlotte Islands, and in favourable situations it attains a height of 300 feet and a diameter of 11 feet. The average tree is 150 feet long and from 2 to 5 feet in diameter. There are instances it is claimed, where more than 500,000 feet B.M. have been cut on a single acre, but the average is about 50,000 feet per acre. The area within which this fir grows contains about 75,000,000 acres. At the rate of 50,000 feet per acre, the stand of Douglas fir in this area would be 3,750 million of thousands feet B.M. At the low estimate of $1.00 per M., the stumpage of this fir represents a value of $3,750,000,000.
Cedar is another valuable species of our forests. In New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, we have the white cedar, which is used for slaking shingles, telegraph poles, culvert wood and railroad ties. For culvert wood, cedar is now placed on the same footing as white pine by many engineers, and for ties it is preferred to any other wood, as also for telegraph and telephone poles. Out of this cedar we make yearly over ten million railroad ties, which at current prices are worth at least $2,500,000. Shingles, telegraph poles and culvert wood give as much, which brings to five million dollars the annual value of the products of eastern cedar. The giant arbor vitae, or red cedar, of British Columbia is a mammoth tree, attaining 150 feet in height and to feet in diameter. It is chiefly used in the manufacture of shingles, for which purpose it is equalled by no other wood. On account of the fine polish it takes, it is well adapted for interior finishings, and in British Columbia it enters largely into the manufacture of doors and cabinet work of all kinds. It is shipped to Eastern Canada in increasing quantities, and when our white cedar stand is exhausted, red cedar will undoubtedly replace it, especially for the manufacture of shingles. The supply of red cedar is not so plentiful as that of Douglas fir, but it is considerable yet. This cedar attains its greatest size on Vancouver Island, along the coast and in the lower parts of the Coast Range. It abounds in the river valleys, on the slopes of the Selkirk and Coast ranges. The stand may be fairly estimated at Zoo billion feet B.M., which at $1.00 per M. represents a stumpage value of $200,000,000.
Dr. Hector, Geologist to Capt. Palliser's exploring party, mentions in his report that on the eastern side of the Rockies, in the upper valley of the North Saskatchewan, the bark of western hemlock, which is abundant, is very thick, attaining very often a thickness of four inches, and very rich in tannin. This kind of hemlock is also abundant along the coast of British Columbia and in the Selkirk Mountains along the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The bark of the Douglas fir is likewise rich in tannin. It seems that the distillation of these barks, to transform them into an extract for tanning purposes, could become a very important industry. In the Eastern Provinces, particularly Quebec, hemlock bark is getting so dear and so scarce that leather manufacturers are forced to replace it, at least partially, by some imported tanning materials. A condensed product like bark extract could stand the long transportation from western to eastern Canada, and this industry of distilling bark to transform it into tanning extract might add considerably to the commercial value of the forests of Alberta and British Columbia.
In the United States, the providing of ties for railways has taken the proportions of an important problem. In Canada, we are not worried by this pre-occupation, as we have an abundance of materials fit for making railroad ties. In the first place, we have cedar, which for many years to come can supply ten million ties annually. In certain districts where cedar is not available, hemlock and spruce can replace it. In Western Ontario and Manitoba, burr oak can yield a considerable supply of ties. Birch is in France the choice timber for making railway ties; this tree grows abundantly in Ontario, where it could be used for the same purpose. Of late years, jack pine has been used for railroad ties. It is found from the Maritime Provinces to the foot-hills of the Rocky Mountains, and Prof. Macoun says it increases in height and girth as one travels westward, the finest trees being found between Northern Manitoba and the Athabaska River, where great areas are covered with large trees. This timber, in Quebec and the NorthWest, as far as the Rockies, can supply almost limitless quantities of ties. In the Rocky Mountains and in the northern part of the interior plateau of British Columbia, jack-pine is replaced by black pine (Pipits Murrayana), which is abundant and well suited for railway ties, as it is very tough and not apt to decay.
For bridge work, trestles, frame for large buildings, and car works, our railways have in the forests of big trees in British Columbia an inexhaustible supply of timber of the very best description. Of hardwoods, Ontario possesses the most supply, in regard both to quality and quantity, but with the exception of white oak, hickory and sycamore, there is also an abundant supply in the other Eastern Provinces. These hardwoods are used in the manufacture of farm implements, carriages and vehicles of all sorts, furniture, coffins and wooden ware. The use of these hard woods increases as railroad construction affords better facilities to take them out of the forest. But they grow fast, and the present stand is so large that we can increase the manufactures in which they are used to any extent, without fear of ever exhausting the supply, which counts up in the billions of feet B.M. Careful investigation leads to the belief that our supply of all other kinds of wood equals about 33 per cent. of our supply of spruce, or 80,000,000 M. At $1.00 per M., the stumpage of these various kinds of wood amounts to $800,000,000, and if you estimate the sawed lumber at the low price of $12 per M., you find a total exceeding 2r billion dollars.
The wood and timber supply, which is a question of such grave importance for other nations, has no surprise in store for Canada. Under proper management, and with fair protection against fire, our forests are inexhaustible, even with an annual consumption of thirty billion feet for home use and exportation. In' 1900 the products of all the saw-mills of the United States was 37,315,584,201 feet B.M. Besides and above that, there were 118,943 cords of wood for various manufacturing purposes, 22,592,000 railroad ties, 8,716,000 fence posts, 1,206,000 hop poles, 397,000 piles, 2,580 masts and spars, 937963 telegraph poles, and 6,796,334 bushels of charcoal. Then the cut of pulp-wood was 970,255,800 feet B.M., or 1,617,093 cords, viz., 1,160,118 cords of spruce, 236,820 cords of poplar and 2`0,150 cords of hemlock and other woods. Converted into broad measure, these various items would form a total of at least 40 billion feet B.M., without taking in the quantities used for fuel. It is a well-known fact that not more than half of the wood-lands of the United States support a growth of merchantable timber, and that the average stand does not exceed 3,000 feet B.M. to the acre. At this rate, .the present stand of merchantable timber would hardly yield 2,000 million feet, or barely enough to supply for thirty years the always increasing demand.
Dr. B. E. Fernow, Director of the New York State College of Forestry, of Cornell University, contends that the present timber supply of the United States will be exhausted within thirty years. "An estimate," he says, "of the present stand of virgin timber in the United States ready to supply the demand for lumber, although admittedly on slender basis, brings out the improbability, if not the impossibility, of meeting the increased demand for another thirty years under present methods of utilization. Even if the entire forest area of five hundred million acres were supposed still fully stocked with the average stand per acre, as reported by the Census in the holdings of lumbermen--an absurd proposition-the stock on hand would be exhausted within that period." Some people lay a great stress on the fact that, in the United States, Governments are organizing forest reserves which may be a great source of supply for the future. The area of these reserves is a little snore than 122,000,000 acres. Dr. Fernow, who is an expert in these matters, demolishes this contention. "The possibilities," he says, "of securing the requirements for renroduction in the natural forest are discussed on the basis of European experiences and without proper reference to the damaging forest fires. It is shown that even under good forestry practice, the present increasing demand could, from the present area, be supplied only for a limited time."
The facts gathered from the Census and the statements of an expert of the standing of Dr. Vernow all agree to establish the fact that the practical exhaustion of the forests of the United States is at the utmost a matter of 25 or 30 years. This may convey an idea of the potentialities of our forest industry and of the necessarily increasing value of our wood-lands. This value will, of course, increase with the needs of our rich neighbours, who more and more are forced to look to Canada for their supply of lumber, shingles and pulp-wood. When it is an ascertained fact that they consume 4o billion feet B.M. of wood yearly, it becomes clear enough that it would require no superhuman efforts on our part to dispose of our yearly surplus of 24 billion feet B.M. at the very conservative estimate of $12 per M. The 24 billion feet we can sell every year to our neighbours would make an annual income of $288,000,000, or a couple of million more than the value of the whole wheat crop of the United States in 1903. And when the supply of the United States is exhausted, we will have to face the demand of the European countries, to which the Americans ship a large portion of their forest products and which will still further increase the value of our forest domains.