SUGGESTIONS FOR A FA, rEAC-HING FOREST PO-L.A'1',
-C. H U i ,A I'EL. lb Fore-stry'pfficer.
The Colonial Research Committee, under whose auspices this investigation has been conducted, was appointed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to conduct the administration of the Grant in aid of Colonial Research, amointinq to 100,000 in all, which is being made by His Majesty's Government. The address of the Secretary to the Committee is the Colonial Qffice, London, S.W.1.
ORESTS OF BRITISH HONDURAS
SUGGESTIONS FOR A FAR REACHING FOREST POLICY
The cost of this investigation has been borne jointly by the Colonial Research Committee and the Government of British Honduras.
PUBLISHED BY THE CROWN AGENTS FOR THE COLONIES,
4, MILLBANK, LONDON, S.W.1.
REPRINTED FOR THE FOREST TRUST OF BRITISH HONDURAS, 1925.
A S this report constitutes the standard work on the
\ forests of British Honduras, and the hasis of .the
A-N accepted forest policy of the Government, it was decided by the Forest Trust to reprint it in more convenient form, with the addition of an index. Revision has not been feasible. The report, written about four years ago, still gives an accurate presentment of the economic and forest problems of the Colony, and of the lines on which it is hoped to solve them. Substantial progress has been made, and some of the potentialities indicated, notably the pine and secondary woods industries and the silvicultural development of Mahogany and Sapodilla forests, have since become realities.
J. N. OLIPHANT,
Conservator of Forests.
Belize, 6th March, 1925.
J aiLibrary I
Copies of this report are obtainable on application to the Forest Office, Post Box 181, Belize, British Honduras. Price $1 or 4s. postage free.
Accessibility of forests.. .. .. ... ... ... ... 4, 5
Advice and information, free distribution of ... ... ... ... 110
Aeroplane propellers, mahogany for ... ... ... ... ... 13
Agriculture and forestry ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 93-97
present conditions adverse for ... ... ... ... 97
utilization of wood on land alienated for ... ... 85
Area of fully stocked forest required to produce Colony's present
mahogany output ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 37
Areas, classification of ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 10, 82
Balsa woods ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 74
Balszayo railway ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 7,88
Black Poiso wood ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 73
Bothac Stain y .. ... ... ... ... ... 114
Breadnutb for fodder .. ... ... ... ... ... 1,75
Braok n ge. .. ... ... ... ... ... 10
Bullet Tree .. .. .. ... ... ... ... ... 74
By-Products, chapter on .. .. ... ... ... ... ... 79
Cabbage Bark ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 74
Cattle haulage, cost of ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 92
grazing (see Grazing).
Cedar, output and uses of ... ... .. .. .. ... 13
Chicle, advantages of intensive culture of sapodilla, for ... ... 51
variety known as Chicle Bull ... ... ... ... ... 48
exports of ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 14
from different varieties of sapodilla ... ... ... ... 47
method of tapping ... ... ... .. .. *. 49
possibilities ... ... ... .. .. .. ... 112
sources of ... ... ... ... .. .. .. ... 48, 49
substitutes and adulterants ... .. .. .. ... 48
time and rotation for tapping ... ... .. .. .. 52
yield of ... ... ... ... ... ...... .. 52
c ohunte n uts ... ... ... ... ... ... 79 .. 1
Cohune Ridge ... ... ... ... ... ... I.. ... 79
Concentrated working of mahogany.........................37
Cost of extraction of mahogany from fully stocked forest......... 97, 98 secondary woods ............ ..........75
floating mahogany...... ........ ..............91
improvements in mahogany forest......................40
proposed forest organization, estimated .. .. 117, 118 railway transport ...................................92
transport decreased by concentrated working .. .. 22
Countings of mahogany stock..............................24-27
Crown Forests, main asset of State...........................83
Cuha hast ..............................................80
Cypress, Honduras.. ................................74
Expenditure, comparison with that of Government departments 108-109
Exploitation, high cost of........... ...................17
policy as to systematic..........................113
Exports of chicle .........................................14
Finance, initial difficulties (see also Forest Finance) ................21
Financial aspect of artificial plantation of mahogany.. ..........42
growing mahogany in fully stocked forests ... 97, 98 growing sapodilla for production of chicle ... 51, 52 Fire, damage hy, in pine forests.. .......................60
Fire protection, results of, in pine forests......................61
Floating of certain secondary woods..........................75
Forest areas............................ .........10, 82
capital, dissipation of................................23
department, estimated cost of......................117, 118
expenditure, estimated initial..........................108
industries, present conditions of.. ...................17
officers, term misapplied to inspectors of licenses .. .. 5 organization should he on a large scale.. ..............84
policy in the past ....................................3
products of the Colony................................6
Girth limit for mahogany.. ............................101
Grazing in pine forests....................................62
policy with regard to ....................I1I
Growth of mahogany ..;. .. ..... .. .. .. 29
Gums aad resins................... .............80
Henequin ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 79
Hiring of Labour (see Labour).
Honduras walnut ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 73
Ironwood ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 74
Importers of wood, interests of ... ... ... ... ... ... 78
Improvements, principles of forest ... ... ... ... ... 28
selection of areas to be correlated with transport policy 112 technique and cost for mahogany ... ... ... 40
technique for sapodilla ... ... ... ... 50
Increment of mahogany ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 33
Indirect utility of forests ... ... ... ... ... ... 114
Inspectors of licences ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 5
Labour conditions ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 93, 94
forestry requires small supply of ... ... ... ... 95,96
problem of ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 20
Land alienation ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 84, 85
policy ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 84
values ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 84
Legislation ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 100
Licence procedure ... ... ... ... ... ... 100-103
system, replacement by concession system ... ... ... 113
Loan, possible use of part of million dollar loan for forestry ... 109
Logging railways, use of wood fuel for ... ... ... ... ... 78
Logwood, felling and transport of ... ... ... ... ... 69
kinds of ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 68
reproduction of ... ... ... ... ... ... 68
trade in and exports of ... ... ... ... ... 14
types of logwood forest ... ... ... ... ... 68
Mahogany and cedar, exports of ... ... ... ... ... 11
forests ... ... ... ... ... ... 23
trade fluctuations ... ... ... ... 12
artificial and natural reproduction ... ... ... 24,38-44
reproduction by planting ... ... ... ... 42
planting not recommended at outset ... ... 43
financial results of ... ... ... 42
concentrated working of mahogany forests ... ... 37
cost of floating ... ... ... ... ... ... 91
counting of mahogany stock ... ... ... ... 24-27
deficiency of small trees in mahogany forest ... ... 24
distribution of size classes ... ... ... ... ... 24
effect of rate of growth on quality of timber ... ... 34
felling operations in mahogany forests ... ... ... 40
immediately doubled yield in improved forest ... ... 35
improvements, technique and cost of ... ... ... 40
insect and fungus attack on young mahogany ... ... 43
intrinsic value of wood ... ... ... ... 6, 7, 12
light-demanding qualities of ... ... ... ... 28
measures for increased production of ... 24
Monkey River plantations ... ... ... ... 30,42, 43
natural regeneration, technique of ... ... ... ... 39
replacement ... ... .. ... ... ... 23
reproduction, financial aspect ... ... ... 42,43
in Forest Section, Botanic Station 39
under treatment, progress of ... 42
Mahogany and cedar, exports of (continued)output in relation to forest area.................... 13, 37
potential output from the Colony ....................37
potential soil value...............................99
present stock ....................................23
profit from well managed forest.....................97, 98
rate of growth.. ............. ........ .....29
in Ceylon plantation........... ......33
in wild forests...... ......... .....35
summarized conclusions as to .. .. 33 regulation of yield in improved forest.................36
seedlings, dying off of under shade.. .... ..........39
so-called re-afforestation by enforced planting of three
seedlings to a stump......................... 43, 44
stock as compared with oak, beech, &c. ................27
summary of chapter on...........................45
use for aeroplane propellers......................13
value of fully stocked forest.. .... ......... .....97
yield of fully stocked forest......................98
Mangrove, probable uses and kinds of ..........................69
Medicinal trees........................................ 79, 80
Mining in relation to forestry...............................97, 99
Moon, supposed influence on sap movement and chicle flow ..........53
Normal stock in mahogany forest............... ..........27
Organization of proposed forest department.................115-119
staff and labour.. .... ........ ..........41
Ownership of forests.....................................82
Pimento (Allspice).. .... ...................... .....80
Pine, concession given on Crown lands (Chipley Concession) .. 57
concessions, technical clauses for............ ..........65
forests, area, of......................................56
comparison with those of other countries .. .. 64
damage by fire................................60
economic importance of ....................... 61, 67
grazing in................................62, 111
logging conditions in...........................59
of the Colony.................................8
present and future yield of .. .. 66
protection from fire...... ...................61
stock and growth statistics.....................62-64
type of land occupied by............ ..........59
working plans for ..............................65
yield, present and future............ .........66
market value of timber................................57
prospects of starting industry............................67
use of term Pine Ridge.................................9
value for resin.....................................57
varieties of .........................................58
Policy, general aims (see Forest policy) .........................20
Private forests, development of ... ... ... ... ... ... 82
trained staff for ... ... ... ... ... 83
Private lands, outlets through .... .... .... .... .... ... 87
Public Works Department, use of local timbers by .... .... ... 77
Railway development ... ... ... .... .... .... ... 90
proposed, from Belize to Cayo. ... .... .... ... 88
transport, cost of ... ... ... ... ... ... 92
versus river transport .... .... .... ... 91
Railways, policy as to production of freight for .... .... ... 112
use of wood fuel for .... .... .... .... .... ... 78
Rainfall .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ... 10
Ramoon for fodder ... .... ... ... .. .... ... 75
latex as adulterant for chicle ...... ......... 48
Rate of growth of mahogany (see mahogany). Rattans .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ... 79
Redwood .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ... 73
Regulations concerning forests (see Legislation). Research on forest species ... ... ... ... ... ... 9
policy .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ... 113
Reserves, formation of .... .... .... .... .... .... ... 84
River transport, cost of .... .... .... .... .... .... ... 91-93
Roads .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ... 88
Rosewood, exports of .... .... .... .... .... .... ... 15
location of forests .... .... .... .... .... ... 54
logging ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 54
name wrongly applied to other trees .... .... ... 56
possibilities .... .... .... .... .... .... ... 111
resistance to fire ... ... ... ... ... ... 55
silvicultural treatment .... .... .... ... ...54, 55
trade in ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 7, 15
Royalty rate list .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ... 102
Rubber (Castilloa elastica) .... .... .... .... .... ... 79,
Santa Maria ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 73
pre-war market for ........ .... .... .... ... 16
Salmwood .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ... 75
Sapodilla, advantages of intensive growing of ... ... ... 51
as a secondary timber ... ... ... ... ... 72
Bastard ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 48
Crown .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ... 47
Female ...... .... .... .... .... .... ...... 47
general possibilities .... .... .... .... .... ... 112
method of tapping .... .... .... .... .... ... 49
natural stock of ... ... ... ... ... ... 52
possibilities of artificial plantation of .... .... ... 50
silvicultural treatment of .... .... .... .... ... 49
varieties of .... .... ... ... ... ... ... 47
wood and fruit of ... ... ....... ... 7, 13, 14
Sawmills, encouragement of local .... .... .... .... ... 16, 77
Secondary woods ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 70
advantage of removal for forest improvements 75
cost of extraction .... .... .... .... ... 77
list of useful kinds ....... .... .... ...... 72
local and prospective uses ... ... ... ... 71
Seonay oosmarkets for.............................77
some float after girdling......................75
utilization of ..............................16
Silly Young latex as adulterant for chicle....................48
Soils, type of...........................................9
Staff and labour organization...............................41
conditions of recruitment ..............................119
requirements.. ................. ...........115-117
Systematic working, advantages of........................17
Task system.......... ....................... ......94
Teak, experiment suggested................................112
decrease in cost with concentrated working .. 22, 37, 38 existing means of...................... ..........87
indirect solution of transport problem.................22
lack of system in mahogany transport............... 17, 18
problem of the Colony in relation to pine forests .. 61 water.........................................91
Unemployment and forestry................................95
Value of fully stocked mahogany forest.. ....................97
Waika Chewstick ........................................74
Waterways.. ............ ........................91
Wood imports, anomaly regarding...........................16
Working plans, absence of.............. ................17
for felling operations in mahogany forests..........40 for pine forests ....... ..................65
regulation of yield in improved mahogany forest ... 35, 36 results from regulated working...............20
Yield of fully stocked mahogany forest.. ..............36,45, 98
pine forests.......... ...........................66
This report is divided into the following seven parts:PAGE.
Part I. INTRODUCTION and programme of
investigations ... ... ... ... 3
II. FOREST' INDUSTRIES: The present
state of the forest industries of British
Honduras and their volume of trade ... 11
III. THE FORESTS: The nature and the present
state of the British Honduras forests and the possibilities of their future developm ent ... ... ... ... ... ... 23
IV. GENERAL CONDITIONS of the country
in relation to Forestry ... ... ... 82
V. FOREST POLICY ... ... ... ... 110
VI. STAFF AND ORGANISATION of proposed Forest Department ... ... I ... 115
VII. CONCLUSION and Acknowledgments ... 120
It should be noted that these seven parts of the report are not independent of each other, but that the facts are closely interlaced and that in each subsequent part a knowledge of the previous parts is anticipated. This applies particularly to Part V., Forest Policy, which, for the above mentioned reason, has been dealt with so briefly.
Those who have only a very limited time available should not overlook in this report, Section (1) (Mahogany Forest) of Part III., page 23, and the short Section (7) of Part III., Hitherto neglected varieties of forest trees," page 70, because these two sections contain some of the most important basic facts for the future forest policy of the Colony. It should, however, be borne in mind that the proposed future forest policy of British Honduras cannot be determined exclusively from only these two points of view.
Supplementary indices are at the beginning of each of the three parts, Nos. II., III., and IV.
National Hen age
,_ Library I
FORESTS OF BRITISH HONDIURAS.
PROGRAMME OF INVESTIGATION.
The forests of British Honduras have been the main The forest source of income of this country for the last 200 years. the main Accordingly, they have also been the main source of Govern- the coutry. ment revenue, directly and indirectly. The value of the annual output of forest products has not only been continually greater, but more than that of any other industry of this country-it has been even considerably greater than that of all those other industries taken together which are not indirectly dependent on, or supplementary to, the Forest Industry.
The forests of this country are, therefore, of exceptional importance for the prosperity and the economic existence of the greater part of the population of this Colony.
In view of the importance of the forests for the general Forest policy good of all, the question of forest management and forest of the past. policy is of special interest. A considerable portion of the original capital stock of the British Honduras forests has been used up, and this process of gradually, although slowly, exhausting it is still going on. That this is the case will be shown further on in this report,. In spite of this, there is still good timber available for further exploitation, which has been preserved f or the present time not by any effective forest policy, but by a few lucky circumstances, the most important of which are the following three:
1. The much lamented absence of roads and railways, which has proved to be a blessing in disguise, inasmuch as it has helped to preserve certain mahogany
areas inaccessible without them.
2. The very small population, fortunately, too small
to destroy all the forest by a favourite method of shifting cultivation known here as the milpa "system.
3. The practice of the American mahogany trading companies to measure and value mahogany logs by the so-called "Scribener-Doyle rule, which automatically excludes very small logs from marketing, and thus
indirectly protects small trees from felling..
No forest This country possesses the usual set of Government
department. Departments, with an estimated expenditure for the current
year of nearly one million dollars, the greater part of which, as mentioned above, is derived from the forests, directly or
indirectly-hut it has no Forest Department!
These valuable forests have never been under any professional or other systematic management, with the result, as already stated, that a large portion of the original capital stock has been removed and is lost for good. It has not been sufficiently replaced by reproduction. It is true that, owing to the natural difficulties, this process of using up capital stock has been such a slow one that many superficial observers have hardly noticed it within their own life time, but in the aggregate the result is that the forest, and, therewith, the whole country, has to a very serious extent
been made poorer.
The effect of this gradual removal of capital stock is
felt particularly at the present time of world-wide financial depression, which has hit this country much more severely than would have been the case had there been a far-reaching forest policy in the past, with a tendency of establishing good forest reserves on easily accessible areas, and of re-investing realised capital stock systematically in roads and railways for, opening the less accessible forests. In the absence of such a policy this country has remained in an
A far reaching forest policy is therefore required for the
The want of roads and railways has been in the past,
and more particularly this year, the cause of a number of financial disasters amongst the mahogany contractors, owing to their inability to get the wood out when the rivers are not in flood. For floating mahogany logs down river in certain rivers it is necessary to have exceptionally high floods (referred to locally as "top-gallant floods "), which may or may not come at the right time; many logs get damaged and some of them lost entirely in this kind of river
The present The present crisis of 1921 in this country may be taken
as a double one, namely, local on the one hand, due to the above-mentioned kind of exploitation of the forests and neglect of their reproduction, and, on the other hand, general, due to the present universal depression of all
The local crisis: For a few years past the exploitation of the British Honduras forests had already reached a point where a local crisis was to be expected; I drew attention to this danger soon after my arrival in this country a year ago, at a time when the timber market was still good. The reasons for this local crisis are simple enough, namely, with gradually rising prices it paid to exploit several distant and hitherto untouched forests at a continually increasing cost of transport ; whilst, on the other hand, with falling prices the exploitation of the same distant and relatively good forests becomes unprofitable, because the high cost of getting the wood out from such localities is disproportionate to the reduced market price of the wood.
There are no equally good forests left on the more easily accessible forest lands which could be used as a reserve at tbe present time of depression, for these more accessible forests have been worked out long ago and no attention of any kind has ever been paid to their reproduction, as mentioned before.
Once before in her history, the forests of British M.Hoe' Honduras ware investigated. This was done 35 years ago, of 1886. in 1886, by Mr. E. ID. M. Hlooper, of the Indian Forest Department. His inspection was a short one of only about two months. In his report, which contains a number of
interesting observations, he recommended the establishment of a Forest Department, which was not done.
There has been a fair amount of enterprise since that opportunity time, i.e., during the, last 85 years, which an expertlot on forestry could easily have directed into the right channels, whilst, unguided, it has drifted into the wrong direction, as will be seen later. In the absence of technical advice, large forest concessions were granted within this time on sterns which are very obviously contrary to what is recognised to be good forest policy.
In order to prevent any misunderstanding as regards the N~oforesry above statement that there is no Forest Department, and leading ties that there has been no technical advice on forestry available of crown in this country, it is necessary to explain here briefly that licenses; they this statement may appear to be contradicted by the fact responsible for that according to official despatches and according to the management. annual printed estimates there appear to be three Forest Officers in the country who belong to the staff of the Survey Department. These records are very misleading on paper, for the three men in question are, in fact, three subordinates of this Department, really inspectors of Crown licences, who have to do some work of control in connection with the collection of royalty. In this capacity they have also to check the licences for rented agricultural land as well as forest licences, which latter are, however, not issued by
them; in conjunction with this duty they are also supposed to count the stumps of felled trees in Crown forests to see if the number agrees with the licences and with the royalty
In other colonies they would possibly be given some
general title, such as "Inspectors of Crown licences, since the title "Forest Officer is usually applied to men of good professional training in Forestry and in responsible
These three Inspectors would be content with any suitable title as far as I know, and do not claim to have anything to do with proper forestry or to have any theoretical or even
practical knowledge of it.
Unless one knows this fact one is likely to throw undeserved blame for mismanagement of the forests on these
three men, owing to their misleading titles.
Investigations A much more thorough investigation than M\r. Hooper for the preeent had been able to make 35 years ago was desired this time, paid from and it was decided that it should extend over a period of Funds.a twelve months. This time the investigations had to be made
not only in the interest of the local Government, but also in the interest of the Imperial Government, with the object in view of taking stock of the still unexplored natural resources of the Empire. Accordingly, about one-half of the expenses (.Cl,OOO) have been made available from
Plan of It was evident from the beginning that there was an
investigations. almost unlimited field for investigation of a botanical,
technical, and economical nature, and that for a flying survey of only one year's duration it was necessary to concentrate one's attention to what appeared to be the most important
Before I left London I suggested that I should devote
my investigations principally to economic questions of forest development, which was agreed to by the Secretary of State.
I considered this advisable in view of the undeveloped state of the whole country. I -understood later from His Excellency the Governor, Eyre Hutson, Esquire, C.M.G., that this was also his view. For this reason, I have also written the present report chiefly from an economic point of viewv, and have kept many observations of a different nature, chiefly botanical and technical facts, separate, as mierely supplementary notes, which may perhaps be published later. Main con- Frm w s aeamr ealdpa fwr
siderations. Frm w s aeamr ealdpa fwr
within the frame of the general programme and based it
on the following considerations:. 1. Mahogany and Cedr-The main product of the country is at present mahogany, and the main industry is
the export of mahogany wood. The latter has a wellestablished market, and the intrinsic value of this wood is such, owing to its excellent technical qualities as compared with other woods, that it will always command a good market in the future, as it has had during the last two centuries.
One of the first questions is, therefore, whether the mahogany forests are in such a condition that a sustained future supply of. this commodity at a reasonable price from this country can be considered a certainty, and, if not, what steps have to be taken to put the present main industry on a safe basis for all time. What has been said here about mahogany applies in a lesser degree also to cedar, which latter is exported in much smaller quantities.
2. Chicle-Another well-established industry is the trade in Chicle, or chewing gum, the product of the sapodilla tree, which grows together with the mahogany. The future
*of this industry is, however, not nearly so certain as that of mahogany, because, for an article of this kind it is more likely that substitutes may be found or manufactured or that the consumption of chewing gum may decrease or be replaced entirely by some other equally bad habit.
In spite of the present depression of the chicle market, it seems, however, that the habit of chewing is not decreasing at present, but, on the contrary, is spreading from America to other countries. In the past the export of chicle has been efd considerable importance to this country. This commodity is, therefore, certainly worth attention, the more so as the sapodilla tree produces also a good edible fruit and excellent hard-wood besides chicle.
3. Dyewoods and llosewood.-Other established forest industries are the trade in dyawoods, chiefly logwood, and in rosewood, which latter has only a limited market at
4. Numerous hitherto neglected forest products.--There may be great possibilities in the utilization of some of the hitherto neglected or unknown forest products (woods, gums,
-dye stuffs, tanning materials, medicines, etc.), which are so varied and numerous in this tropical forest that their full investigation alone would probably keep ten experts busy for ten years. The difficulty in this kind of work for anyone who, is fond of research work is not to lose oneself in details,
-and to select from an almost unlimited and still unknown material only what appears to be more important from an economic point of view. I considered the exploration of these new possibilities also, of importance, and have tried to collect as mudh valuable information with regard to them as was possible within the available time. At the end of my mission I had about 180 different trees on record, and my
notes on them are now too voluminous and also too technical to be copied ih this Report. The general practical conclusions from 'this kind of research work are contained in Part III., pages 70 to 78 of the present report where the possibility of utilizing some of the numerous species is discussed.
5. The Pine Forests-The pine forests of British Honduras deserve special attention, since they cover onethird of the area of the whole country. Besides, the soil on which they grow is, generally speaking, too poor for growing anything else but pines. Only certain selected and relatively small parts can be used as pasture land during the whole year, whilst the poorer grass on the greater part of the pine area can be used for cattle grazing only for a short period. It appeared desirable to find here a suitable combination of wood growing and cattle grazing; and that has been found now. The wood of the British Honduras pine is qhite good and very durable and compares favourably with most of the different kinds of pines of other countries.
In conection with negotiations for a concession for utilizing a selected pine forest of about 200,000 acres in extent, I was asked by the Secretary of State a few months after my arrival in the Colony to make a special exploration of this particular area, which I did. On that occasion I submitted a separate report on the pines, in which I dealt at the same time also with the general question of developing the pine forests of the whole country, so as to get that special case in question subordinated to a, far-reaching forest policy. The facts of general interest which are contained in that special report have now been taken over into this present report so as to embrace the whole forest question in a single report.
6. Advice on current work.-It was not only on that special occasion of a pine concession, but on a good many other occasions that I was asked to give technical advice on questions concerning the forests, such as existing concessions or new applications, etc., and I have gladly given such assistance. In doing this I entertained the hope that the discussion of practical cases would make it easier to fully understand the views which are expressed herein. I have devoted to this kind of current work much more of my time than I intended to originally, and on more than one occasion I took the initiative in testing the practical possibilities of getting new work done here. That appeared to be worth the extra trouble, since, besides the natural difficulties of the country, it is heard here so often that there are other quite exceptional difficulties of getting new work done.
These tests produced some interesting results. His Excellency the Governor took great interest in this and in
all my work, and invariably rendered me valuable assistance.
7. Problems of transport.-On all my tours I paid attention also to the possibilities of transport, and the practical and financial solution of the great question of making the forests, i.e., the whole country, gradually accessible by roads and railways.
It is perhaps not out of place to add that I have spent Research on the supplementary work of collecting notes on, and speci- work. mens of, new species, much of my spare time in the evenings, sometimes till late in the night, and also most of the Sundays. These supplementary notes, very incomplete though they are in view of the plentiful material that had to remain still unexplored, would probably be useful, if published, to. all those who wish to study the forest trees of this country in detail. It would, however, take some time to bring tlese rough notes and such illustrations as could be made into suitable shape for publication. If time and means could be made available for doing this, the proposed British Honduras Forest Department would have a record of some 180 different forest trees from the very beginning.
A few notes as regards the size and geography of British General
Honduras may be of interest before the forest problems are British discussed in detail. The following description of the situa- Honduras. tion and extent of this country is taken from the Guide to British Honduras," published in 1919:British Honduras forms a part of Central America. Situation and extsent of
It lies between 150 54' and 180 29' north latitude, and British between 870 50' and 89' 16' west longitude. Its greatest HonduraS.
length, from north to south (the mouth of the Rio Hondo to the mouth of the Sarstoon River), is 180 miles, and its greatest breadth from east to west (Staan Creek Town to the Western Frontier Line), is 57 miles. The area of the Colony is reckoned to be 8,598 square miles. Its extent of coast line amounts to about 240 miles." In the north it
borders on Mexico, in the west and south on Guatemala, whilst the Caribbean Sea is to the east.
There is a belt of low land, partly swampy, along the sea shore, and a range of hills along the western boundary.
The quality of the soil is locally distinguished chiefly soil. by two characteristic plants, namely, the pine and the cohune palm. Land on which the cohune palm grows is
accordingly called cohune ridge and is supposed to be the most fertile land; and the poor sandy stretches on which the pine grows or would grow is called the pine ridge "; and there is a third type of soil on which neither the cohune palm nor the pine grow naturally, and which is called
broken ridge," with soil of medium quality, varying from
almost poor to nearly very good. This popular local description of soils is very useful for many purposes and very convenient to newcomers. I found, however, that the
meaning of "cohune ridge "and accordingly also "broken ridge is all too vague and varied for forestry purposes, and
I have therefore hardly used these terms in this report. ;Seasons. IThe climate is tropical. There is a short dry season
from February till M\/ay, and a long wet season.
Rainfall. The difference in the rainfall in the north and the south
respectively is very marked. In the north of the Colony it averages about 60 ins, a year and in the south of the Colony it is much greater and averages about 100 ins, a year. The difference in the composition of the forests in the north and in the south is equally marked, and is, no doubt, partly due to
the difference in the rainfall.
Population. The population is very small as compared with the area
of the country; the' total number according to the census
of this year (1921) was only 45,291.
forecast Of the total area of about 8,600 square
miles, or, roughly ... ..: ... ... 5,500,000 acres,
about one-third is supposed to be pine
forest, say ... ... ... ..., ... 1,800,000
probably more than one-third is workable
mixed high forest, containing mahogany, say ... ... ... ... 2,500,000
and less than one-third is other land, inciudrocky mountains, swamps, lagoons, area covered by rivers, and cultivated
land, say ... ... ... ... 1,200,000
The latter two figures are only very rough guess work,
but they are, nevertheless, useful for forming some idea of the extent of the forests which are the subject of this Report.
The greater part of the more accessible forest lands are in private hands. It is, therefore, hoped that some of the facts mentioned in this Report may also be useful to private owners of forest estates for getting their extensive holdings
Present The following chapters deal at first with the present
and con- state of the forest industries and of the forests, and then th uue with the conclusions to be drawn from the present conditions with a view to securing, on practical lines, a safe and
progressive future for this Colony.
THE PRESENT STATE OF THE FOREST
INDUSTRIES OF BRITISH HONDURAS
VOLUME OF TRADE DEVELOPED.
This Part II. is sub-divided as follows
1. The Mahogany and Cedar Industry ... 11 2. The Chicle Industry ... ... ... 13 3. The Logwood Industry ... ... 14
4. The iRosewood Industry ... ... 15
5. Present use of other woods ... .. 16
6. Present working methods of the forest
industries ... ... ... .... 17
From the fact that this country has been able to depend The total out. on the resources of its forests for the long period of 200 years, is t$Mal.er and from the additional fact that after this long time of compared exploiting these forests still remain the main source of of the forest income of this country, one might conclude that the wealth of these forests and their stock of good wood must be almost inexhaustible.
That is, however, not the case. It was not the richness of the forest, but the relatively small volume of local timber trade as compared with the area, that has enabled the local forest industry to keep alive for such a long time. As mentioned in the introduction to this Report, it has been due to various retarding circumstances, such as the very small population and the absence of means of transport (roads and railways), that the extraction of mahogany has never assumed such dimensions as to strip the forests entirely of all exportable wood. TPhis question will be dealt with more fully later.
1. Mahogany and Cedar Industry.-The following figures show the quantities of mahogany exported from this country in superficial feet:(M = 1,000 superficial feet.)
Export of Mahogany in 1920 ... 8,979 M., 1919 ... 8,217
1918 ... 8,868,
1917 ... 9,792
Export of Mahogany in 1916 ... 5,821 M.
1915 ... 6,077 1914 ... 9,171 1913 ... 9,493 1912 ... 16,000 ,, (in round 1911 ... 13,000 ,, figures). 1910 ... 10,000 1909 ... 11,000 1908 ... 14,000 1907 ... 10,000 1906 ... 11,000 1905 ... 10,000 1904 ... 10,000 1903 ... 10,000 1902 ... 6,000 1901 ... 7,000 1900 ... 8,000 1899 ... 7,000 1898 ... 7,000 1897 ... 7,000 1896 ... 3,000 1895 ... 3,000
For comparison it may be interesting, to quote also the following figures of the last century (from Hooper's Report of 1887):Export of Mahogany in 1880 ... 2* 000 M.
1878 ... 38 000,, 1874 ... 6 000,, 1870 ... 23 000,, 1860 ... 71 000 Timwa 1846 ... 131 000,,
i. elcopmft 1845 ... 10 000
in Europe. 000' "
1837 ... 8j 000,, 1820 ... 3 000,, 1805 ... 61 000,, 1803 ... 4 000,, 1802 ... 2-1 000 ,, From the above table it may be seen that, with the exception of the two periods between 1840 and 1850, and 1902 to 1912, the annual out-turn of mahogany was below 10,000 M (=25,000 tons). The ups and downs during the various periods were partly in sympathy with the general conditions of the world's market, and partly also with the changes of fashion in house furniture. The increased demand for mahogany at the time of railway development between 1840 and 1850 is very marked.
In recent years the annual out-turn has not been far below 10,000 M., except in the years 1915 and 1916, when a decrease was due to the war.
At the same time a very important discovery With Techical regard to the technical qualities of mahogany was made, British which wilt strengthen its market for all time and make it mHogany.s more independent of such fluctuations as were due in the past to changes of fashion in house furniture, etc. The discovery was that mahogany was found to have the best technical qualities for aeroplane propellers, and British Honduras mahogany again was preferred to mahogany from other countries.
The importance of this discovery does not lie so much in the possibility of supplying this special industry (aeroplanes) with raw material, since the demand may be small in ordinary times, the importance of it lies much more in the general fact that fromt the severe test in aeroplanes the excellent technical qualities of mahogany have become known more generally, and will be found valuable for numerous other purposes besides the construction of aeroplane propellers.
This undoubtedly strengthens the future market for Market
mahogany and makes it a very valuable commodity at all for the future. times; also at such disturbed times when cabinet woods are considered a superfluous luxury; duking the war it was bought in great quantities purely on account of its technical qualities, and in ordinary times it has always had a steady market as a beautiful cabinet wood.
A quantity of about 10,000 M. is not more than the volume of normal annual yield of a well-stocked and intensively paired wai managed forest of about 15,000 to 30,000 acres, according areas. to the volume tables of well-stocked forests, whilst here in i3ritish Honduras the available forest land which is suitable for growing mahogany is about two million acres in extent. For this reason the volume of timber which is extracted annually' from this land may be considered very small indeed as compared with the area. This fact gives an interesting outlook for a great expansion of business in the future. That will be discussed more fully in another chapter when figures of the rate of growth of mahogany will be given.
Cedar (cedrela odorata) is cut in much smaller quanti- cedar, ties. For a long period the output of cedar has been about 5 per cent, to 10 per cent, of that of mahogany. This is proportional to the quantity of cedar that grows in mixture with mahogany trees. The use of the cedrela wood for cigar boxes, and insect proof cases and wardrobes is well known.
2. The Chicle Industry. -Chicle is the latex of the sapodilla tree, and is used for the manufacture of chewing gum, as mentioned already. It is not possible to state exactly
how much chicle is actually collected in British Honduras territory, since the export figures below include also some chicle of Guatemalan or Mexican origin, which has been exported via British Honduras. Nevertheless, these figures give some idea of the volume of trade in this commodity :/Of this quantity about 75
per cent. are the proExport in 1920 560,884 lbs. duce of Mexico and
1919 3,543,764 ,, Guatemala, a n d
about 25 per cent. of
1918 816,425 ,,
1917 872,083 ,,
1916 823,032 ,, Produce of British Ron1915 1,443,758 ,, duras; figures not
1914 1,099,696 ,,) quite reliable.
1913 1,005,833 ,,
The value of the 560,884 lbs. of chicle which were exported in 1920 was $372,636 (British Honduras $=American $), whilst the value of the exported mahogany of the same year was $1,324,409.
In 1913 the value of the exported chicle was $297,010, and that of mahogany $643,567.
These figures show that the trade in chicle is of considerable importance to this Colony.
The sapodilla tree does not only produce the chicle gum, but. as stated before, also good hard-wood, which makes excellent and durable posts and good railway sleepers; these qualities of the sapodilla wood are not yet generally known. In addition to its useful gum and wood, the sapodilla tree also produces food stuff in the shape of edible fruit of fairly good quality, as mentioned already; it is therefore a very useful tree in more than one respect.
3. The Logwood Industry.-Logwood is a dye wood which is sold here by the ton. It was at one time a very important article of export, but like other natural dyestuffs, it has suffered under the competition with synthetic dyestuffs since the latter have made their appearance on the markets.
The average export of logwood from 1911 till 1914 was about 3,000 tons a year. During the war it varied considerably. In 1915 it was about 2,000 tons; in 1917 more than 5,000 tons; in 1918 none at all. Last year (1920) 1,470 tons were exported.
There is a great difference in the quality of the various kinds of logwoods; they are, however, sold mixed together.
It may be possible in the future to improve the local logwood market by keeping the better kinds of logwood separate from the inferior kinds and by paying more attention to the reproduction of the better species. From the standpoint of political economy, logwood is worth attention, as some of it grows on land which is of little use for anything else.
The value of the exported logwood of 1917 (5,260 tons) was $123,000, and that of 1920 (1,470 tons) was about $44,000.
4. The Rosewood Industry-British Honduras rosewood, which is closely allied to East Indian rosewood (dalbergia latifolia), has had only a very limited market hitherto, although it is a beautiful wood of good technical qualities.
It is much heavier than mahogany and does not float. This is no doubt one of the reasons why local timber merchants have paid relatively little attention to this valuable wood, because there are difficulties in transporting heavy woods.
In 911 10 tos wre xpotedworh .. 260
In 1911, 100 tons were exported worth ... 2,600
(half of which was sold to the United Kingdom and the other half to the
United States of America)
In 1913, 390 tons were exported worth ... 7,200
(the greater part of which (292) tons
was sold to France)
In 1914 the export dropped again to 267
tons, worth ... ... ... ... 4,200
In 1915 there was a further heavy fall due
to the war, to only 52 tons, worth ... 795
In 1917, 205 tons, worth ... ... ... 3,690
(could be shipped to the United States of
In 1920 the export increased to 477 tons,
worth ... ... ... ... ... 17,392
A very fine piece of British Honduras rosewood was exhibited at the Empire Timber Exhibition in London, 1920, and was much admired.
Rosewood could be brought to the market considerably cheaper if the rosewood forests were exploited more systematically than is the case now. Consequently cheaper rosewood would no doubt find a much wider market than it has at present. .The more accessible rosewood forests are not nearly so much worked out yet as the .easily accessible mahogany forests, and, provided they are brought under proper forest management before it is too late, they may become a very valuable asset to this country.
The present system of utilizing the rosewood forests is
so wasteful and destructive that it will be better, in the interest of the future of this country, to have only small quantities of it cut, as is the case at present, until a Forest
Department can take care of these forests.
5. Present use of other woods.-Their number is great;
many of them ae very useful, but they have remained neglected hitherto, and so also has the pine, for various reasons which will be explained later. Their utilization is an important problem for the future: directly for reasons of political economy, and indirectly for improving the growth and stock of mahogany trees, which grow in single mixture together with many of those numerous other trees. It is quite natural that in the absence of any technical advice on forestry this problem of improving the mahogany forests indirectly by utilizing some of the numerous other woods was not understood in the past, and hardly ever thought of.
The question of utilizing some of these hitherto
neglected woods is also important in connection with the other question of making the mahogany forests more accessible by roads and logging railways. This will also be
explained more clearly later.
xot of. Only one case is known of Santa Maria wood having
wood, been shipped to Europe and sold at a good price shortly
before the war.
j~ocaI use%. In out-stations several of the less known local woods are
used for various purposes and found to be of good quality; but this local market in out-stations is very limited owing to the present small population of the country (only 45,000 people). Besides, the places near the coast are supplied with imported timber from the United States. That this Competition import of wood into a well wooded country is an anomaly wihoo e~ has been stated and acknowledged repeatedly in the past in
wd, pamphlets and books, and on other occasions, but it has
never been remedied. Previous to the establishment of an extensive export market in some of these secondary woods it will be necessary to organize at first a local market for them in the port and capital, Belize. The latter is built almost entirely of wood. Even the best of the local woods are at
present too little known by the people of the Colony.
'Sawoilling. Timber from American sawmills, although sometimes
inferior in quality, has the advantage over local. woods that it is offered for sale in every convenient shape and form, ready for use, whilst there has been no local sawmill in the
past which could saw and dress local timber equally well.
It should, however, not be impossible to overcome this
difficulty, provided the Government protects the local
industry and supports it by buying local wood also for Government requirements. A start in this direction has
been made at my suggestion.
No such assistance was rendered to local saw mills in the past, and without such help they could not risk a heavy outlay of capital for purchasing expensive machinery.
6: Present working methods of the forest industries.The last few paragraphs give some idea of the volume, the importance and possibilities of the various existing forest industries of this country. A few additional notes with regard to their working methods will make their present situation quite clear. In this connection-and also on later occasions-it is necessary to point out certain mistakes which have been made, and are still in vogue, in the utilization of the British Honduras forests. Most of these
mistakes have been due to the absence of technical advice, and they are discussed here solely with the object in view of improving things in the very interest of the local industries.
There are at present no working plans, not even of the No working roughest kind, in use, or anything resembling them, for plans. exploiting the forests systematically. There is in most cases great uncertainty with regard to the available stock of mature trees even on relatively small areas. No efforts of any kind have ever been made to ascertain the probable future yield and to see if the future of the existing export trade is on a secure basis.
This question as to the future yield of these forests is of such far-reaching importance that it has to be dealt with at some length in another chapter, where figures of countings of trees over large areas will be quoted to show clearly that there will be danger ahead unless the right measures are taken now.
The outstanding feature of the present working methods is the very high cost of exploiting the forests. This is due partly to the absence of roads and railways, and partly also to a fact which could be remedied very quickly, i.e., the lack of systematic working.
Such arrangements as are necessary for starting felling only
op n ae immediate
operations are usually made only for the immediate require- requirements ments of one or two or perhaps three years, never for more are taken into than just a few years, and with hardly any consideration for consideration. later possibilities.
Much money could be saved on various items, chiefly on transport, if the original arrangements, when felling operations are begun, were not of such a very temporary type; and there are numerous cases where the operations could be continued for a long period.
Example. A concrete example of a case of which the name could
be quoted will make this more clear: A mahogany firm obtained a report from a mahogany "hunter to the effect that there were a fair number of exploitable mahogany trees within a distance of one to three miles from a suitable landing place on some river. It was then decided to make the necessary arrangements for cutting less than onehalf of the available trees during the first year and the remaining trees in the second year. _A clearing was made for a large camp; the required number of labourers were hired and brought to the place; and a number of very heavy trucks and 12 oxen for each truck were taken to the working place, besides horses and mules for the cattlemen and provisions for a store. Wide open lines, so-called "truck passes, were then cut through the forest as lines of transport, and each individual mahogany tree-they are usually very scattered, about one to an acre-was made accessible for the trucks by wing passes which connect with some of the "main passes "; the latter lead to the
All this was done to be abandoned again after the
removal of the originally "' hunted trees.
In this case of camp IR it was found, however, in
the second year that a little distance further there were more exploitable trees for a third and fourth year of working, and then again more trees for an additional year were found on further investigation, in the direction in which one of the main passes pointed, and so on, and it was not until the ninth year that the forest, which was exploitable from camp with cattle haulage, i.e., for a distance
of less than eight miles, could be considered to be worked out. One of the "main passes "' has been in constant use during this period of nine years. During the short dry season of about three months the soil on, that main pass is hard, and it is at that time that 112 oxen manage to pull a normal load of mahogany along it; hut during the wet season-and that is the greater part of the year-no heavy transport on this main pass is possible, because it is then too soft. Sledges have been used to some extent on such soft and muddy roads, but that is very hard work and is disliked. It is also twice as expensive as haulage by truck because only about half the load which can be transported
on trucks can be moved on sledges.
The interesting feature of this case is now that this
main pass," which is about seven to eight miles long, has
a very favourable gradient of about 1 to 2 per cent, falling towards the river bank, and the mahogany logs could therefore have been taken to the river bank without any motive power if a tramline had been used on which the trucks would have rolled down by gravity. In that case the transport
would have become also fairly independent from the seasons (wet season), and the total cost of the tramline and of getting the logs out would not have been greater than the actual cost of cattle haulage. Apart from the greater independence from seasons, that logging railway would now have the additional greater advantage that those more distant parts of the forest which are not exploitable with oxen would now also be exploitable with the help of the tramline.
This opportunity was not noticed when the camp R was made, not because the advantages of tramlines on such favourable gradients were not known at that time, but simply because the available stock of exploitable wood was not investigated beyond the requirements of the first two years, and therefore no plan for a longer period could be made for getting the wood out more economically.
Great improvements and savings could be made in this Possible
direction by exploiting the forests more systematically after andsavings. more thorough investigations.
That would gradually also lead to the construction of connecting logging railways and logging roads and thus open the country; and would not cost a cent more, if properly arranged, than the transport costs are at present.
No mention has been made above of the medium-sized trees on the same land which will also be exploitable some day and which would be taken fully into account in a proper forest working plan.
The present system of making arrangements of working only for the immediate requirements has also many other drawbacks, as, for instance, the expensive feeding of the numerous heads of cattle. They are usually fed on tie leaves of the so-called Breadnut tree (brosium alicastrum), which grows scattered about, and by no means so very numerous in the mahogany forest.
The mahogany cutter trusts to his good luck that there may be a sufficient number of Breadnut trees where he wants them. Convenient though this kind of fodder is in the forest, its collection is sometimes very expensive when the Breadnut trees are not close at hand. Cheaper and more reliable arrangements for feeding the cattle could be made beforehand if all the work was arranged more systematically. Even the planting of Breadnut trees at convenient places could then be taken into consideration. Their crowns could be kept low by pruning; the cattle could feed then directly from them and that would save the cost of labour for cutting the leaves.
Also, the shifting habits and conditions of living of the labourers would probably gradually change for the better; furthermore, with more permanent means of transport, 2A
probably a good deal of the material that is wasted at present might be utilized. This remark refers chiefly to the rosewood forests.
The hiring of, The labour problem is not an easy one, particularly for
lbu. people who are new to the country. This question will be
dealt with more fully later. However, one difficulty may be mentioned here at once. Under the present system the mahogany labourers are usually hired at Christnias time for a whole year. It is, as a rule, not easy to hire additional labour during the year or to reduce or change it. There is a considerable risk in this system in years of great fluctuations in prices, as we had this year (1921), because the labour cannot be reduced in proportion to the slump in the timber market; it could also not be increased to any extent if prices
During the dry season at the beginning of the year the
logs which were felled in the previous half-year are taken out of the forest and are shipped; that concludes one marketing period. After that the felling operations for a new marketing period begin in the middle of the year and the contractor is usually not in a position to reconsider at that time the whole situation in view of hnportant changes of the market which may have taken place since the beginning of the year, because the labour which was hired at the pre\-ious Chiristmas time for the whole year cannot be reduced, or increased, as circumstances may demand, at the beginning of a new felling period. The result is, at the present time, where we have witnessed a sudden fall in the price of mahogany wood to an unusually low level, that the felling operations are continued at a loss, because no other possibilities of using
the hired labourers with advantage are known. Frestry I
would remove Ifthe principles of systematic forestry were known here
on gea -they are quite unknown at present-it would soon be the labour realized by some of the mahogany firms that, on such occaproblem. sions as the present, the hired labourers could be used with
advantage on proper forestry work for improving the forests and also for making transport easier in accordance with a far-reaching plan, and that the money spent on employing the labour in this way would soon come back again with compound interest. The whole method of working would thus become much more elastic. The problem of financing improvements in forests will be discussed in a later chapter. Quick results. From the few suggestions with regard to more
systematic working according to working plans improvements would result within a relatively short time, and in
some instances almost immediately. Much greater Tahwvr ol eol ml einn ftov
resulted later. Ththoeewudbonyasalbgnigftoe
much greater changes for the better which will be achieved
in the future, if a far-reaching forest policy is adopted for gradually concentrating growth and stock on selected areas on private land as well as on Crown land. This latter possibility can, however, not be examined before various technical questions are discussed.
OUR AIM MUST BE1. To improve the present conditions so that the cost of exploiting the forests will gradually become smaller.
2. Thus to make competition with other countries in the World's market easier.
3. To concentrate gradually the growth of mahogany on favourably situated areas, to increase its stock and also the output and to get a much greater share of the world's trade in mahogany, which grows here under favourable natural conditions and in very good quality.
4. To find a market for some of the useful secondary woods.
5. To get the greater part of the country gradually opened by privately constructed logging railways under concessions for long periods and by more systematic exploitation according to simple working plans instead of the present hand to mouth system, which leaves no permanent mark of progress in the country.
6. The final result would be a considerable increase of the whole trade of the Colony on a safe, permanent and more profitable basis, and at the same time the opening up of the greater part of the country by logging railways which would cost the Government nothing. This can be done.
The greatest difficulty in making practical proposals to Financial difficulties at
this end does not lie so much in technical problems- the beginning. intricate though they are-but in a much higher degree in the fact that there are financial difficulties at the beginning for starting any new scheme of this kind. Once a start is made, forestry will finance itself. If there were funds available, the best and quickest way would be to take the bull by the horns, so to say, by connecting the port of export with the best workable forests as quickly as possible by building roads and railways. But that is not practicable under present circumstances, and such a general suggestion as it is necessary that the Government should construct roads and railways for developing the forests would not help very much, because there are no funds available at present for doing it.
solut of However, the question of transport has to be tackled
transport in various ways in forestry, and there is one indirect and problem, practical, though not very quick, way out of the abovementioned difficulty of financing a comprehensive road and railway scheme. This will be made clear later in this Report and a few hints as to the possible solution of this problem of transport have already been given in what has
been said above.
Cost of trans- An important fact which has to be taken into consideraport most
decrease when tion is that whatever the means of transport may be,
grwh Of whether cattle haulage or railway, the cost of transporting gradully wood must decrease in about the same proportion as the concentrated stock of exploitable wood increases on any selected on selected
areas. area, because the distances of transport decrease
If, for instance, 1,000 logs are obtainable from the
nearest 100 acres of land their cost of transport will be only one-tenth of what it would be if they had to be brought in from a ten times larger area, ije., from 1,000 acres, because
in the latter case the length of roads or "truck passes
must be ten times greater.
For estimating the possibilities of increasing and concentrating the present scattered growth and stock it is necessary to study the nature and the present composition of the various kinds of British Honduras forests. Their more
important features are described in the following Part III.
THv NATURE AND THE PRESENT STATE OF THE BRITISH HONDURAS FORESTS AND THE
POSSIBILITIES OF THEIR FUTURE
This Part III. is sub-divided into the following sections
i. Mahogany (and Cedar) Forests .. ... 23
2. Sapodilla trees ... ... .. ... 47
3. Rosewood Forests ... ... .. ... 54
4. Pine Forests ... ... ... .. ... 56
5. Logwood Forests ... ... .. ... 67
6. Mangrove Forests ... ... ... 69
7. Large number of hitherto neglected
varieties of forest trees ... ... ... 70
S. Forest BV-products ... ... ... ... 79
9. Concluding remark to Part III.... ... 81
MAHOGANY (AND CEDAR) FORESTS.
The forest which is called here a mahogany forest is really a mixed tropical forest composed of more than 200, possibly 500 to 800, different species of trees. Only a relatively small percentage of these trees are mahogany trees. There are no pure mahogany forests. Occasionally, but
not often, one finds a number of mahogany trees growing close together and forming small groups, but usually single mahogany trees are scattered about the forest in single mixture with the numerous other kinds of trees. A stock of one good mahogany tree per acre may be considered to be a good average stock under the present circumstances.
There is a certain amount of natural reproduction of natural
mahogany, but not enough to replace the number of felled stock of trees. The available stock is, therefore, as mentioned ahgany
lready, decreasing. The figures quoted below, which have
been gathered from countings over large areas, prove this clearly. From a financial point of view only a part of the annual out-turn of wood can therefore be considered to be current production; the other part is taken from the capital stock of the country. This country has thus been living
partly at the expense of future generations.
If such capital value as has been utiliied had been put
back again into the forests in another permanently productive form, such as in the shape of improved means of transport (roads, railways, etc.), which permanently reduce the cost of exploiting the forests, nothing could be said against it, but most of such capital value as has been realised has gone for good and has disappeared in current
Measures for There would be no great technical difficulty in establishestablishing
equilibrium Iug now an equilibrium between exploitation and production between
utilization even without reducing the annual output of wood, but a and repro- strong will and knowledge of forestry will be required for d.,tiOn. doing it.
First of all, some measures will have to be taken for
increasing the production of mahogany wood in the proper
sense of the word producing or growing.
There are three ways of doing this, viz. :
(a) Artificial reproduction by planting, which is not recommended here, except in special cases, for financial and technical reasons.
(b) Assisting the natural reproduction, which can be done cheaply and on a big scale.
(c) Improving the growth of the already existing trees; this measure goes easily together with (b) (natural reproduction) and is very effective, Vf done
correctly, and gives quick results.
These technical measures will be discussed in detail
Proportion of Before collecting figures as regards the proportion of the stock of
the emall mature, medium-sized and small trees of the present stock trees to that 0of mahogany, my general impression on my tours through of the trees of
medium and these forests was that the number of small trees (under 3 ft.
lag ie. girth) was distinctly' below the number of medium-sized General trees (of 3 ft. to 6 ft. girth), whilst the very reverse would Impression. be normal; there should be more small trees (to allow for
losses, etc., during the long time until maturity is reached)
than medium-sized trees.
Countings. In order to control my own rough estimate, I made
countings along trial lines over an area of about 20,000
acres, together with another Forestry Officer, Mr. J. N. Oliphant, of the Indian Forest Service.
The result of these countings was :Per Cent.
Small trees (under 3 ft. girth) ... ... ... 26 Medium-sized trees (3 ft. to 6 ft. girth) ... 61 Large trees (over 6 ft. girth) ... ... ... 13
Total ... ... 100
There were, therefore, not even half as many small trees as medium-sized trees, or, in other words, the exploitable stock in 20 to 30 years hence, i.e., after 1940 to 1950, will be not even one-half of the stock which will be available during the next 20 to 30 years, when the present medium-sized trees can be felled; and the latter, i.e., the medium-sized trees, again are smaller in number than those which were available in the past. It is a steady though slow decline from fairly good in the past to not quite satisfactory at present and much worse in the future, if the reproduction remains neglected as hitherto.
It is well enough known that still untouched forests had to be tapped lately at a very great expense of transport to maintain the former average output, because the more easily accessible stock had become insufficient. Another distinct sign of the decrease of stock is that the average size of logs from the more accessible forest areas is steadily getting smaller and smaller.
On some of the easily accessible mahogany lands on or close to river-banks only very few mahogany trees are left; their stock is exhausted to a very great extent. Also, the average distance of hauling mahogany to the river-banks has been increasing in the past and is continually increasing at present. Nobody can mistake these obvious signs of a decreasing stock, even if there were no figures to prove it.
Superficial observers are easily deceived by the fact A deceiving that a mahogany forest looks never entirely worked out after fact. felling operations, because medium-sized trees which are not marketable remain unfelled. There is, therefore usually
something left for later. That this something is continually decreasing in quantity is not always noticeable just at the first glance. Those owners of private forests who think that their stock of mahogany is not decreasing should make countings, which are easily done to be sure as to the future.
The greater part of the forest in which the above- Type of forest mentioned countings were made was the type of an average outings mahogany forest which had been exploited before on the were made.
principle that only the largest trees shall be removed, and that all medium-sized trees, also those which were .lreadv of 6 ft. girth, should be left untouched. In spite of this conservative principle of exploitation, the stock is steadily decreasing as proved above, because no attention whatever
has been paid to the reproduction.
It is worth while to remember here again what has been
stated already once before, that the cost of transport must increase in about the same -proportion in which the stock of
trees per acre decreases.
Countings In order to gat reliable figures, also, for various other
much larger mahogany forests besides the above-mentioned 20,000 acre area. block, Mr. Oliphant, at my request, made similar countings to those stated already along test lines, on an
additional area of considerably more than 100,000 acres.
Also the figures obtained from these very extensive countings, confirm the general conclusions made already. His
figures are:Per Cent.
Small trees (under 3 ft. girth) ... ... 19.3
(instead of at least 50 per cent.) Medium-sized trees (3 ft. to 6 ft. girth) ... 51.4 Large trees ... ... ... ... ... 29.3
Reproduction Not the whole land on the first mentioned area of about ufers tcord- 20,000 acres was of equal quality; the greater part was iog to soil.
average forest which had been exploited before at long intervals, but a small portion was virgin forest and another small part was on inferior soil, on so-called Broken Ridge "
land. There were, therefore, three different qualities of
As regards the stock of small trees, the only difference
between the exploited and the virgin forest was that in the latter, i.e., the virgin forest, the proportion of the small trees to the whole stock appeared to be smaller, because there are more old trees; after their removal the percentage of the small trees becomes about the same as in the exploited
forest; this is clearly reflected in the following figures:Virgin Exploited
Per cent. Per cent.
Small trees (under 3 ft. girth) ... ... 7 ... 15 Medium-sized and large trees ... ... 93 ... 85
This shows that also in the virgin forest the number of
small trees is unsatisfactory.
On inferior soil (Broken Ridge), which is for various
reasons no proper mahogany land, the percentage of trees of the three girth classes (small, medium and large) is very
deceiving and looks much more satisfactory at first sight; but it should be borne in mind that on such inferior soil the individual trees are also inferior; their height is below the average, and so their maximum girth and the growth is obviously very slow and the wood flinty.
Here, on inferior soil, the percentage was found to be as follows :Per Cent.
Small trees (under 3 ft. girth) ... ... ... 48 Medium-sized trees (3 ft. to 6 ft. girth) ... 50 Large trees ... ... ... ... ... 2
Many of the small trees on this land appeared to be very old. This Broken Ridge mahogany would not be of sufficient practical importance for mahogany operations to make it worth while to mention it here especially but for the fact that the deceiving percentage of the girth classes required a warning and explanation.
In this connection it may be stated that inferior mahogany can be grown on almost any soil except on very poor sand or very swampy or brackish soil.
Besides the above-mentioned countings I made count- Othini ings of trees on an exceptionally well stocked virgin forest in an exceptionthe Cayo District, together with a local mahogany mahogany
hunter and mahogany workers. A good patch of five forest.
acres was selected on this occasion for surveying and counting. The men who assisted me greatly over-estimated the number of mature trees per acre (an error of judgment noticeable oftentimes in this country), and thought there would be about 25 to 30 good trees per acre. The
result, however, was as follows (per acre):Seedlings, 1/5 (only 1 on 5 acres).
Small trees (under 3 ft. girth) ... ... none.
Medium-sized trees (3 ft. to 6ft. girth 3 1
Large trees (over 6 ft. girth) ... ... 8
This was, as mentioned already, an exceptionally good stock of mature trees.
From my observations in all the more accessible forests Average stock and from Mr. Oliphant's countings over extensive areas of Per acre. relatively good mahogany forests, it appears that an average stock of one tree to the acre may be considered to be good, and in the majority of cases it is rather less than that.
For comparison with the above-mentioned stock ofCouParlson of actual stock
mahogany trees per acre the following figures from Sirofmahogany
William Schlich's Yield Table for Oak mav be interesting.-stock
[ National Heritage
I k IV%
One acre of a fully stocked mature oak forest of best
quality, 160 years old, contains:
56 mature trees of largest size ... aggregating 10,390
If of medium quality, 77 trees
of fairly large size ... ... ,, 8,320
If of inferior quality, 115 trees
of smaller size ... ... 6, ,070
The oak is a so-called "light- demanding tree, as is
also mahogany, but the latter is, as far as I could observe, not quite so light-demanding as oak. As a rule, the more light-demanding a species is, the smaller is the maximum
number of mature trees per acre.
It may therefore be taken as almost certain that a fully
stocked mature mahogany forest would contain more mature trees per acre than a mature oak forest, i.e., more than 56
trees and surely not less than 40 good trees per acre.
But at even half or a quarter figure, i.e., with 20 or
only 10 to the acre, the present difficult problems of transport and of high cost of extraction would find an easy solution, because only one-tenth or one-twentieth of the area which is being tapped now would have to be made accessible for getting out~ the same quantity of mahogany
as at present.
In the case of a "shade bearing "tree, such as beech,
there are 100 mature trees (140 years old) to the acre of best quality, and 150 trees on soil of average quality; and of silver fir, which is still more shade bearing than beech, there are as many as 160 mature trees on best soil and 200
on average soil at an age of 140 years.
It is, therefore, a very moderate estimate to, expect to
grow in a fully stocked mahogany forest about 40 mature
trees per acre.
If one compares with this figure the present average
stock of only about one tree (all sizes!) per acre, one easily realizes how much below the possible normal yield the actual present yield is. This great divergence between 'actual and possible stock shows how different the situation might be now, if the forests had not been so much neglected in the pest; on the other hand, it shows what possibilities there
are for the future.
-Quick resultstaenalsolninatoilfcsto possible of It does nottaenalsolninarpcl rs o
Improving bring about a decided change in the situation as it would neglected
mahogany take in a forest of a cool climate, because here in the tropics forest, the rate of growth is ever so much faster.
We can even have very quick results of increasing the
production if we begin by improving the growth ofn the already existing trees and, fjrst of all, of those near maturity.
The growth of most of them is retarded by creepers and cut creeers climbers which grow on mahogany trees at the cost of their and 11 ers. host and which can easily be removed with a few quick cuts; even boys could do it. Besides, also many of the numerous useless trees which grow together with mahogany Kill inter, fearing useless
do harm by suppressing the latter. That can be helped trees. easily by girdling such useless trees.
These very same improvements (cutting climbers and girdling useless trees) will also help to improve the natural reproduction of mahogany, i.e., the seeding and the growth of the seedlings and saplings.
The increase of growth which results from such improvements varies according to circumstances, such as the grade of previous suppression, the age of the trees, the number of climbers, etc. In favourable cases there is a quick change from a practical standstill in growth to a very quick growth. In every case such improvements, as explained above, are beneficial.
For working out approximately in figures the time it takes Rate of an improved tree to grow from 5 ff. girth to 6 ft. girth, etc., growth. one should know the possible rate of growth. This is also of the utmost importance for making good working plans for the future, and for estimating cost and results, and also the time when results may be expected, and when certain forest areas become again exploitable; it also helps in estimating time and cost of the various operations of a general plan of transport, which must be part of a scheme of developing the forests systematically. I considered it, therefore, one of my important duties from the very beginning to tiv to find out the rate of growth of mahogany.
That was by'no means so easy as one might expect. Although mahogany cutting has been the main business of this Colony for 200 years, no reliable information as to the rate of growth of imahogany was obtainable from anybody. I made enquiries on many occasions, and put it into the newspaper inviting the public to bring to my notice mahogany trees of known age, to enable me to measure the rate of growth, but received no information. Then I heard accidentally that somebody had made a small mahogany plantation about 12 years ago a few miles from Stann Creek town. For a long time these were the only mahogany trees of known age which I had on record. But the disappointment was great when I went to Stann Creek to see them. The people there seemed to remember them well enough, but when the land in question was inspected it was found that all the planted mahogany trees had been destroyed by fire a few years ago when the very same piece of land was let to somebody temporarily for a small amount for planting some agricultural products. For clearing the land he destroyed the
mahogany trees by fire!1 Now it is abandoned again and is growing np into wild bush. This case is not untypical for this country; there is little thought beyond the immediate requirements; there was plenty of other suitable agricultural land available in the same locality.
Soon after the above disappointment I happened to see two sinall mahogany trees on a private estate. From enquiry I found out that they were not planted, but had apparently grown from seeds which the wind had carried to that place. The present owner of that estate took it over five years ago and when he cleaned it in 1916 he noticed the two mahogany saplings, which at that time were about 6 ft. high. I have had this statement confirmed also by other people who were at that place in 1916.
1 measured the girth and height of these two trees, and the figures are given further below. Useful though these figures are, they wore, of course, quite insufficient for making a reliable estimate of the rate of growth of larger and older trees and of whole forests.
It was not until towards the end of my mission that I found larger mahogany trees of known age. It was a native planter on the Monkey River who happened to plant mahogany trees as shade trees in a cacao plantation 12 years ago. On that occasion he gave also a number of m-ahogany seedlings to a neighbour who planted them together with various fruit trees. On this latter plantation I was able to measure the height of enough trees for constructing a good height curve, whilst on the cacao plantation the growth was too dense for measuring heights with the help of a hypsometer.
These measurenmuts give highly interesting results, and, although the trees in question were only 12 years old, their rate of growth, in combination with other facts which I have collected, give now a good idea of the possible rate of growth of British Honduras mahogany forests, as may be seen from the following:
(am) The rate of growth of the first mentioned two
* small trees is as follows:The height was in both cases 30 ft. and the
girth 21 ins, in one case and 25 ins, in the other case.
As these, trees were already about 6 ft. high
five Years ago, their increase in height in five years
was (30 ft. 6 ft.)= 24 ft., or about 5 ft. a year.
Their average girth is I x (21 ins. + 25 ins.
Deduct 3 ins, for their probable girth at chest
height five yeers ago, when they were 6 ft. high;
that leaves an average increase in girth of (23 ins. 3 ins.)= 20 ins. in five years or 4 ins. a year, or
1 foot= (3 x 4 ins.) girth in 3 years.
(b) In the 12 year old mahogany plantation (45 trees) on the Monkey River the average rate of growth per tree was found to be :Girth ... ... ... 3 ft. 3 ins.
Height ... ... ... 53 it.
average cubic content 15 cubic feet (quarter girth
These measurements include a number of suppressed trees; if that were not the case the figures would be higher.
From these figures it would appear that an average girth of 6 ft. is reached at the age of 22 years, and at the age of 30 years the girth would be 8 ft. 1-1 ins., but
it must be taken into consideration that the rate of growth of trees slows gradually down as they get older. It is, therefore, likely that at the age of 36 years the average girth will be about 7 ft. instead of 8 ft. 1-1 ins.
The above-mentioned figures show the average growth of the plantation. The growth of the best tree in that plantation was much quicker; it measured 4 ft. 9 ins. in girth at chest height, that is, at a height of 4 ft. 6 ins. from the ground, and has a, total height of 64 ft. ; its cubic content is now already 37 cubic feet (quarter girth measurement). It will, no doubt, be large enough for felling at the age of 20 years.
The measure d 45 trees stand on an area of almost exa ctly one acre in extent (to be quite correct 1-04 acres).
Their total cubic content is now already 732 cubic feet (quarter girth measurement). But here it must be remembered that the fruit trees which were interplanted between the mahogany trees, and other wild growing trees, cover about half the area of that one acre, so that actually only about half an acre of land is covered by the above-mentioned 45 mahogany trees, which measures 732 cubic feet. If the whole area were fully stocked with mahogany trees, their present cubic content would probably be about (2 x 700) = 1,400 cubic feet, judging from the possible density and the satisfactory rate of growth of those individual trees which were not suppressed by fruit trees and other trees.
But even without taking into account this possibility of a larger cubic content if the area were fully stocked, the rate of growth is highly satisfactory.
Further below additional conclusions are drawn from these figures.
(c) The other phntation, a cacao plantation on the Monkey River with 12 years old mahogany shade trees, which has been mentioned before, is a good distance away from the mahogany plantation described under (b); the land is on a lower level and the soil is heavier. This land does not appear to be quite above high water level. When I inspected it I had to wade through water for a considerable distance before I reached it, and received the impression that the whole plantation would be under water if the river rose an additional one foot, which is probably not impossible. Such land is not the best suited for mahogany and I anticipated a smaller average girth than in the previous instance. That happened to be the case, but the difference was not so marked as one might expect.
The average girth here was 3 ft. 1 in. as compared with 3 ft. 3 ins. on the better plantation, and the maximum girth 4 ft. 2 ins., as compared with 4 ft. 9 ins. on the former occasion.
The difference of only 2 ins. in the average girth is so small that the general conclusions drawii from the previous instance need hardly any modification. Some of these 12 year old trees were already seeding.
As regards other localities in this country, it is perhaps worth mentioning in this connection that on several occasions people showed me mahogany trees of which they roughly remembered the size 10 or 15 years or so ago, and in every such case th4 increase of growth appeared to be about 2 ft. to 3 ft. girth within 10 years wherever the trees had their whole crowns exposed to the full light and were free of climbers(near roads), but much less or hardly any increase in the ease of suppressed trees.
If all the above mentioned direct observations and measurements in this country are now combined and compared with similar observations in another tropical country, where exactly the same species of mahogany, namely, the swietenia macrophylla, is grown under very similar conditions, little doubt can be left as to the possible rate of growth of mahogany in British Honduras, which is the native country of this species.
It is Ceylon whence the figures have been obtained which are given in the following paragraph for comparison.
(d) A pure forest of British Honduras mahogany (swietenia macrophylla) was planted in Ceylon 25 years ago by the Government's Forest Department.
These 25 years old mahogany trees are now reproducing themselves naturally. Their average girth at
chest height was 4 ft. at the age of 22 years.
It is estimated by the Conservator of Forests of
Ceylon that under proper management these trees will attain an average girth of 6 ft. when 40 to 50 years, old, with a clear bole of 30 ft. to 50 ft., and yield about 5,000 cubic feet of timber per acre. The annual growth per acre is, therefore, 1/40 to 1/50 of 5,000 cubic feet, i.e., 100 to 125 cubic feet every year. One good specimen of
that timber was exhibited in London in June, 1920.
(e) A British Honduras mahogany tree (swietenia
macro phylla) at another place, at Chatamborai, South Malabar, is on record, which at an age of 35 years measured 95 ft. in height and 7 ft. 5 ins, in girth, and after it had reached that size and age it increased its girth by a whole foot in four ycars, so that at the age of 39 years it measured 8 ft. 5 ins, in girth and 100 ft. in
Also, this record of 1 foot girth increment in 4 years
is very similar to the average rate of growth in the Monkey River plantation (1 ft. in 3-7 years), whilst the best tree there (4 ft. 9 ins, in 12 years) increased its girth at the rate of nearly 5 ins, a year, or 1 ft. in less
than three years.
The following conclusions may be drawn from the above Concluions as mentioned five different records of the rate of growth of g,. ofh British Honduras mahogany:
1. Maturity, is reached under proper treatment at
an age of 30 to 50 years; there are variations according to locality. In exceptional cases fast growing individual
trees reach maturity at an age of 20 years.
2. Girth increment under proper treatment: 1 foot
increase in 3 to 6 years, according to locality.
The actually measured girth increment of the trees
grown in British Honduras ((a), (b) and (c) above) is:
2 ft. 7 in. to 4 ft. in 10 years, or
1 ft. in 3 to 4j years;
and in the Ceylon plantation it is:
1 ft. 10 in. in 10 years,
1 ft. in 5j years.
The result of the proposed improvements of the growth of existing trees may therefore be felt distinctly within the short time of 3 to 6 years, according to circumstances.
Within this time improved trees may be expected to increase their girth by a whole foot.
3. Increase of cubic content.-The normal growth per acre of a well managed and fully stocked mahogany forest is 100 to 125 cubic feet every year, or 4,000 to
5,000 cubic feet every 40 years.
Compares of TheCeylon figures are lower than the British Honduras th nrish figures as regards the average increase in girth, but they Hondurs
figures. agree remarkably well as regards the probable cubic content
at maturity, which is estimated to be 5,000 cubic feet per
acre in Ceylon.
In the Monkey River plantation (b) above, the estimated
cubic content of a fully stocked acre (12 years old) was 1,400 cubic feet, which would be proportionate to 5,833 cubic feet at the age of 50 years, and, if allowance is made for the slowing down of growth as the trees get older, to just about
5,000 cubic feet, i.e., the same as in Ceylon.
In this comparison of British Honduras with Ceylon
figures, one fact may appear to be very puzzling at first sight, if not contradicting, namely: How is it possible that the rate of growth as far as the cubic content is concerned is the same in both countries, whilst on the other hand the increase in girth is slower in Ceylon where it is only 4 ft. in 22 years, as compared with nearly 3 ft. at half that
age in the Monkey River plantation?"
The explanation is very simple for anyone who is
acquainted with forestry, namely: If one plants on the same area a larger number of trees closer together-which must be the case in the Ceylon plantation-one may get for the whole area about the same aggregate increment as in the case of planting further apart-the British Honduras plantation-where fewer but greater increments of the fewer and less cramped individual trees make up about the same aggregate increment per acre. The difference in this case lies in the system of planting and treatment and not in the
nature of the tree.
In one case, wide planting and heavy thinnings-we get
large sized trees in a shorter time, but with broad concentric rings; whilst in the other case the more numerous individual trees attain the same size at a later date and get more narrow concentric rings. In both cases the annual growth per
acre is about 100 to 125 cubic feet, as stated above.
In one case maturity is reached in about 30 years,
with about (30 by 100) cubic feet = 3,000 cubic feet per acre; in the other. case in about 40 to 50 years with about 4,000 to 5,000 cubic feet per acre. There are, of course,
also variations according to the varieties of soils, etc.
Apart from the direct measurements the above-mentioned figures agree also with the rate of growth of other tropical forest trees of a similar nature and which are growing under similar conditions.
The above is the rate of growth of mahogany trees Rateof growth of
which are not hindered in their growth by creepers andwildgrowing climbers and not suppressed, partly or totally, by the crowns trees. of useless trees as is the case in the present wild mahogany forests of British Honduras.
It would be a great mistake to think that the same figures could be applied to these latter wild growing trees. Their rate of growth varies considerably and is on the average much slower. Few of them have their crowns quite free and grow at full speed, others are suppressed on one side and therefore develop their crowns towards the other side, which makes them crooked, besides retarding their growth; others again are suppressed entirely and hardly put on any increment until some accident removes their suppressors; and numerous seedlings and saplings die when the suppression is not removed in time.
From a general comparison of untreated European forests (chiefly private forests), with well-managed forests of the same localities, it appears that the latter produce almost twice as much wood and of a better quality and shape than the former.
Approximately, the same must be the case here; that is also borne out by some countings of concentric rings which Mr. J. N. Oliphant, of the Indian Forest Service, made here. According to his countings it takes the wild growing mahogany trees on the average about 80 to 90 years to get a girth of 6 feet, i.e., just about twice as long as the normal rate of growth which has been worked out in the previous paragraphs for trees growing under more favourable conditions.
The slow growth of wild growing trees has not necessarily the effect of producing a better quality of wood with regular narrow rings. It would be a great error to take that for granted in every case. The delayed maturity of wild growing trees is more often due to an almost complete standstill of growth for a long time, when the trees are suppressed, after which they may grow very fast for a while and put on very wide rings. This can be seen clearly enough by studying the concentric rings. The best quality of
mahogany will be produced in a well-managed forest.
From the difference of the rate of growth in the wild Imost
forest on one hand and in an improved forest on the other may be taken hand, it is quite obvious that from the very moment when into account for improved
the existing trees are brought under proper forest treatment, forest.
almost twice the quantity of production of wood can be taken into account for any selected area as when the same
forests remain neglected.
Example. The following example may make this more clear :Let us suppose that on an area of 20,000 acres 20,000
mahogany trees are found of all sizes, and that the girth classes be the same as of the countings mentioned a few
pages further above (page 25), namely:Per Cent.
Large trees (over 6 ft. girth) ... ... ... 13 Medium-sized trees (3 ft. to 6 ft. girth) ... 61 Small trees (under 3 ft. girth) ... ... 26
From the moment when these trees are brought under
favourable conditions of growth by cutting climbers, and girdling and killing suppressing useless trees, the normal rate of growth, that is maturity at an age of 30 to 50 years, say 50 years, can be taken into account for estimating and
regulating the annual output of timber.
But if the same trees are not helped, the rate of~growth
of wild growing trees with maturity at an age of 80 to 90 years, say 90 years, has to be taken into account for estimating the future yield.
In the first case of proper treatment the whole of the
present stock of 20,000 trees would reach maturity during the next 50 years and could be cut during that time. In that case the normal annual output from now would be 20.00o t ... 400 trees every year. They would be of
gradually increasing size, as the deficiency in the smallest girth class is compensated by distributing the total number
of trees equally over the whole period of 50 years.
In the second case, of leaving the trees untreated, the
whole of the present stock of 20,000 trees would become mature, and could be cut, during a period of 90 years instead of 50 years with a sustained annual output of only 2-0' =222 trees, i.e., only about half as much as in the first case, There is a gain in the first case of nearly 200 trees every year
from the very beginning.
The difference will, however, become much greater
theoretically at the fiftieth year, but in reality long before that, probably at the twenty-fifth or thirtieth year, because by that time the improved areas will. be nearly fully stocked and yield at the very least 10 to 20 trees to the acre instead
of only one on the untreated area.
Conemtsion If the same facts are applied to the total annual outfrom the
improved put of mahogany from this country, we find that for getting yield ap lied
to the ole every year a quantity of 10,000,000 board feet, or, roughly, utrnt 25000 tons, an area of about 1,000,000 acres of untreated mahogany mahogany forests has to be tapped continually, whilst the from British
Honduras. same quantity could be extracted from about 600,000 acres
of the same forest, if only the already existing trees were helped by cutting climbers and by killing interfering useless trees.
However rough this estimate of the forest areas may be, Immediate that one fact is certain that the required area would be reduced considerably, probably by about (1,000,000600,000)=400,000 acres as estimated above, and that the mileage of truck passes, and therefore the cost of transport, would decrease accordingly. This alone would change the whole situation for the better and within a relatively short time. It would be the turning of the tide, of continually increasing distance and cost of transport, which has lasted for so many years. With the present falling prices gradual concentration of production closer to the port of export is the right policy, and this policy will gradually become effective almost from the moment when it is decided to do it, as explained above.
Besides this almost immediate gain which is to be-Muchgreater gain for next
derived from a proper scheme of improving the forests, there generation. is another much greater one in store for the next generation when, owing to the concentration of production, the yield will gradually increase to eventually the normal yield per acre of 100 cubic feet a year. Then it will be possible to finance directly from the saving in mileage the construction of good roads and railways through and from such wellstocked mahogany forests; and more than that, it would make it possible to bring mahogany on the market at a lower price than other countries could do from unimproved
mahogany forests. That, again, must lead to an increase of business and profits. In forestry it is necessary to look far ahead.
For producing in a permanent rotation an annual output Normal area 7 1 for producing
of 10,000,000 board feet, or, roughly, 25,000 tons, a rela-presentotput tively small area of well-stocked mahogany forest would be of mahony required according to the figures given on page 33. There stocked forest. it is proved that 100 cubic feet, i.e., more than two tons a year per acre, is the average growth of a properly managed and fully stocked mahogany forest. For producing annually in a permanent rotation 10,000,000 board feet or 25,000 tons, not more than' 12,500 acres of fully staked mahogany forest would therefore be required; and at half the normal rate of growth, i.e., at one ton per acre per year, which is a very moderate figure for any well-stocked forest, 25,000 acres would be sufficient. That would be equal to two strips of land of only one mile depth on each side of the Belize River and 20 miles along.
Even without roads and railways the saving in transport saving in from a forest of this type is obvious. The logs could be transport. taken directly to the Belize River by skidding, and the
.Nal .al Heritage
greater part of the present expenditure for cattle haulage and truck passes over the 1,000,000 acres from which the wood is extracted at the present time could be saved. That is, at a very moderate estimate, about $100,000 to $200,000 a year; this amount would then become available for progressive work of a permanent character.
There is no sound reason why the present generation
should not embark on such a development scheme, which will hardly cost more than the present mahogany operations-the money has only to be spent in a different wayand there is no reason why the next generation should not see it fully accomplished. But to ensure success it will
pay to put the forests under first-class management.
It was unavoidable to deal here at some length with the
question of the rate of growth of mahogany and its consequences as regards the possibility of increasing the growth of the already existing trees, because so much depends on it. The possible results in the near future already are noteworthy.
Relative cost of The other question of reproduction, which is important imrovine the
reproduction for the more distant future, i.e., after the expiry of 25 to
of epro-. 50 years, has thus far been only slightly touched on, and ductions. requires a few additional remarks.
It has been stated once before that there are two possible ways of reproducing mahogany, namely:
(a) By artificial means, such as planting, which is not recommended here at the beginning for technical
and financial reasons, except in special cases;
(b) Natural reproduction, which is possible over large areas at a low cost.
Wherever natural reproduction is easy, it costs only a
fraction of what artificial planting would cost, and in such
cases it has also other technical advantages.
Chiefly economic reasons should determine whether the
one or the other system, or, in certain localities, whether
both systems should be used.
There is no established theory as regards the reproduction of mahogany.
I have studied the conditions under which mahogany
reproduces itself on numerous occasions on all my tours through the forests of this country, and have come to the conclusion that natural reproduction can be induced on a big scale cheaply end simply by regulating light and shade.
Some silvicultural knowledge is required for doing that.
All the improvements which are made with the object in
view of increasing the growth of already existing trees, as discussed above, namely, the cutting of climbers and the
killing of interfering useless trees, increase at the same time the natural reproduction. The flowering and seeding of such improved trees becomes more plentiful, and the light on the ground changes after such improvements from full shade to half shade," which latter condition is beneficial to the establishment and growth of mahogany seedlings.
With one operation, i.e., that of freeing existing trees One silviScultural
from climbers and from suppressing other trees, we get, measure improves the
therefore, in most cases the double result of improving the groh of the growth of those trees as well as of getting natural repro- not yet r" mature trees
duction. and at the
same time the
This system has the great advantage of being exceed- reproduction. ing simple and practical. If more were added here as regards the exceptions to the rule, it would probably be more confusing than helpful-that would have to be the subject of a separate silvicultural treatise.
The established seedlings and saplings require gradually Tending of more light; there should be a free space of 6 ft. radius above sedlings. and around their crowns; this space for the development of the crowns has to be re-opened from time to time. In the case of poles and young trees, as in the case of large mahogany trees, it should be well remembered that the above rule does not demand any cleanings below the crowns,
because some undergrowth below the crowns and around the stems is useful for cleaning the stems and for pushing the crowns up.
From experiments I made I found that one difficulty at Labourers for silvicultural
the beginning is to teach the labourers to recognise maho- work. gany seedlings. However, they soon learned it. Close
supervision is required at the beginning. Some of the men I had with me did this kind of work very well, though a bit slowly, as is the case nearly everywhere in the tropics. If the more suitable men are picked out, and properly supervised, there will be no difficulty in getting this kind of work done on a big scale and satisfactorily.
Further above, when the result of extensive countings Numer of of trees of various girth classes was given, no mention was madeof the number of seedlings which were found. They were not counted singly, but their occurrence was noted generally. Their number was very small, smaller than that of any other girth class. On more than one occasion I noticed that they die off again, after standing too long in very dense shade.
On an experimental section of the Botanic Station which, at my request, has been reserved for the natural reproduction of mahogany, seedlings have established themselves in fair
numbers in half shade, and in Ceylon the natural reproduction seems to be equally satisfactory under similar conditions. A few simple
rules for With regard to the various facts which have been ex*Wwing plained in this chapter, the following simple programme of
forces on managing and improving mahogany forests is suggested private land
as well as oil here
(A) IMPROVEMENTS.-Considering the general state of
this Colony and its present financial situation, the system of improving its mahogany forests must be simple, practical
and cheap at the beginning.
(1) Cut all the climbers on mahogany trees; IS may have to be repeated after one year.
(2) Girdle and kill interfering useless trees so as to make the crowns of mahogany trees free from suppression, but do not remove the undergrowth beneath the
Cost of (1) and (2) about 25 cents to 50 cents for each improved tree the first time, cheaper the second
If the cost for helping each seedling and sapling round parent trees were added, the total cost of improvements would be about 50 cents to I dollar per parent
tree and reproduction, including overhead expenses.
(3) If only a section of a forest can be improved, start
(a) either where you get quickest results, i.e., where there are large medium-sized trees; or
(b) in the most accessible section so as to reduce the cost of transport permanently; or
(c) try to combine (a) and (b).
(4) Help the seedlings and saplings, wherever they are met, and prevent destruction by all means. This increases the value of an estate, with compound
(B) FELLING OPERATION S-Get the available forest
section properly investigated with a view to arranging the work systematically for a number of years. Such investigations, having regard also to medium-sized trees, cost hardly more than the ordinary hunting, and saves in the end expenditure on transport in most cases. A rough working plan is
The above mentioned simple rules apply equally to
the numerous private forests of this Colony as to the Crown
(C) ORGANIZATION.-In the case of large private forest estates, and more so in the ease of the Crown Forests, it is advisable to organize the various operations in mahogany forests on about the following lines:(1) Organization for Irnprovements.-(a) Training
of the Labourers-The first improvements should be made by a small group of about four to five labourers, under the direct supervision of a trained Forester. The suitable labourers are then picked out by him, and are newly grouped with the relatively best labourer as foreman for each group. Good foremen should be appointed permanently as Forest Guards for the same
kind of work of helping and supervising small groups.
(b) Above a number of about five Forest Guards
there should be a Forest Ranger, also selected from local bushmen, who controls the work of the Forest Guards and their groups of labourers, keeps accounts and records of trees, allocates the work to each Forest Guard and group of labourers according to instructions received from his superior, who should be a trained Forestry Officer. In doubtful cases, such as when useful trees interfere with other equally useful trees, the Forest Ranger tells the Forest Guard as to what should be done, and in very difficult cases the Forestry Officer
has to be consulted.
(2) The Forestry Offilcer's work.-He organizes the
work as described above, controls it regularly, selects the Forest Guards and directs their training, which takes one to two. years. An annual course of training for private Forest Guards could be held near the Botanic Station. The Forestry Officer selects the areas which have to be improved, divides them into compartments and divisions, for which purpose he uses natural lines as much as possible, or already existing artificial lines, such as cow trains, etc. He decides in which order the compartments have to be treated and makes a detailed plan of work f or a number of years, and a more general plan for longer periods, for the improvements as well as for the felling operations and for the means of communication (paths, roads, logging railways). All this must go hand in hand. He works out the sustained yield of a forest section and allots to the contractor who
fells the trees, or to the concessionaire, annual "coups"
or a guaranteed number of trees which shall be available
for felling every year.
(3) Training of subordinate staff for other work
besides improvements.-The subordinate staff, i.e., the Forest Guards with their groups of labourers, and the Forest Rangers have to assist the Forestry Officer in
timber cruising; furthermore, in making rough surveys, in fixing the best suited lines of transport, etc., etc., and also in the construction of logging roads or bridle paths where that is done directly by the Forest Staff, as is the
case at times.
* It is quite obvious that it takes some time to train the subordinate staff for these various kinds of work.
The results will depend to a great extent on their training and first of all on the selection of a qualified Forester
of experience, energy and initiative.
Probable The probable progress of the natural reproduction under
progress of the above mentioned treatment would be: natural reproduction. (1) That around each single parent tree a whole
group of self-sown young mahogany trees would grow up.
(2) That these groups would gradually expand until they meet each other and cover the whole area and thus
form fully-stocked forests.
mend 9PLANTING.-Wherever this process of getting whole areas
ntrl restocked by natural reproduction is considered to be too reprioduction artificial reproduction by planting may be resorted to by planting. slw
for filling the gaps between the natural groups.
This can he done in two different ways, namely:
(a) By adding planted groups to the natural groups. In this case some space between the groups would he lcft for natural expansion from self -sown seedlings when the planted groups start seeding, L~e., after about 10 to
(b) By planting up completely the gaps between already existing trees and groups; in this case planting in lines through the hush, about 20 ft. apart is recommended; the wild undergrowth bcaeath the crowns of mahogany must be allowed to grow up with the young
mahogany trees, but not above thein.
ureO plaOn- (c) A third kind of planting would be on open and
open land, abandoned agricultural land on well-selected places
whence the transport will always be easy and cheap.
In this case also the wild hush should be allowed to grow up together with the mahogany trees; also a belt of wild bush about 30 ft. wide around the mahogany plantation should be allowed to grow up for producing
clean, straight and long stems of mahogany.
Financial From a financial point of view the labour and money
point of view, spent on this kind of planting could be compared with the
accumulation of a reserve fund or with the savings in a savings box, or an old age insurance, whence it may be secured again with a fairly high compound interest after about a generation. That will be possible in the case of the
Monkey River plantation which was described above in this report. Figures with compound interest are given later in Part IV., pages 97, 98.
In the case of a purely natural reproduction as the result of improving the already existing trees, the financial view is an entirely different one. For in this case, the reproduction costs practically nothing, because the cost of the improvements of the parent trees will be realised again within a relatively short time from their increased growth.
Generally speaking, artificial planting is not recoi- Reasons for not recommended at the beginning, certainly not on a big scale, until mending the results of the natural reproduction are clearly seen.* artifliat There is also a technical reason against planting on a big the beginning. scale at the commencement, namely, the danger from insect pests and fungi, -which is ever so much greater in large artificial plantations than it is in the case of natural reproduction, where the balance of nature does not get disturbed very much.
On many occasions I have actually noticed that young mahogany plants have their infantile diseases, which latter require further investigations. In their natural surroundings the plants appear to be fit enough to resist pests; there they probably have a friendly insect which kills the hostile one. In an artificial plantation on a big scale it might be diff erent.
Apart from this, planting can be done usually with less skill than a really good natural reproduction, which latter requires fine observation of nature, good judgment and careful organization of all operations, including also the logging operations to prevent overlapping in later years and unnecessary damage by felling and extracting the wood.
It has been stated once before that planting is much more expensive than natural reproduction in the case of those species of trees which, under given circumstances, reproduce themselves sufficiently. Natural reproduction appears to be the best suited system for British Honduras mahogany.
Before the discussion on reproduction is closed, the idea Amnateur's of enforcing by law the planting of three seedlings to each plant three stump is worth mentioning, because it is the favourite idea seedlings to of some local men with no knowledge of forestry. Very' ahsup strangely, some years ago somebody imported the news, and apparently many believed it, that this is the recognised system of reafforesting in those continental countries where forestry is most advanced. This information was wrong.
But let us take this proposition of planting three seedlings to the stump seriously and examine its probable result for British Honduras.
1. A law to this eff ect would look perhaps quite well, but
it would remain a dead letter, like several existing regulations (which are discussed later), unless it were enforced by an
2. The cost of enforcing such a law over numerous
scattered bits of felling areas (cost of controlling staff, travelling expenses and Court cases) would be greater than if the technical work of reproduction were carried out directly
by a forest staff on selected areas.
3. The quality of the work of enforced planting would
certainly be bad; there would be numerous excuses for failures. It would also be relatively easy to fool many by showing other similar tiny plants for mahogany seedlings, which latter are not easy to recognise, as long as they are very small. After planting, these scattered seedlings would, of course, have to be left alone, and the majority of them would get suppressed by the other surrounding growth. The eventual final result would certainly not be worth the cost
and the trouble.
4. If enforced planting were really wanted, the right
way of doing it would be to concentrate such planting (three plants for each tree felled) on selected areas where it could be done properly and cheaper and where it could be looked after later and where also control and supervision would be practicable and ever so much cheaper than on the numerous
scattered places where the old stumps are.
But then again, in this case of concentrated planting,
it will be more convenient and cheaper for the mahogany cutters to put the planting, or let us take it more generally now, the care for reproduction directly into the hands of a
trained forest staff.
5. A three seedlings to the stump rule is in use in
another Central American State, and from enquiry I have learnt that the results are such as one would expect in this type of forest, namely, quite unsatisfactory in more than
No enforced 6 In the case of British Honduras, the writer of this
wanted. report is not in f avour of any law for enforcing planting. He
feels also sure that it was only necessary to explain these facts briefly as above to convince those who thought otherwise hitherto, that the suggestion to plant three seedlings to each stump may be left out of consideration under the prevailing
The gentlemen who made such a suggestion want
honestly to have the future of the British Honduras mahogany forests put on a safe basis and are far from thinking of a purely evasive measure calculated to save the
appearance of doing something for the forests which in reality would have no practical effect. There is, however, the risk that it might be misunderstood later in this sense and be compared with the change of title of inspectors of Crown licences into that of forest officers, which is nct of much benefit to the forests.
The whole present situation as regards the mahogany Summary of forests of British Honduras may now be summarized in the othCher following short article which I published some time ago in mahogany the local newspapers at the suggestion of His Excellency the frss Governor. The same article contains also an explanation for the declining natural reproduction of mahogany, and a few other additional facts:
"The wild mahogany forests of British Honduras are sub-normally stocked; they contain only a small percentage of mahogany trees and a very large percentage of other trees, many of which are useless. The growth of many mediumsized mahogany trees is stagnant, because they are overshadowed by useless trees.
"The natural reproduction of mahogany is very slowly, but distinctly, declining; I have proved this on areas on which it was firmly believed to be good, as, for instance, near Hilibank and near Yaca. The explanation for the declining regeneration of mahogany is not difficult, namely, by removing periodically the parent trees of the best species (mahogany) and leaving the parent trees of the bad species, the chances of the former of reproducing themselves have been reduced gradually, whilst the reproduction of the useless trees has remained unchecked, and thus the useless trees have been helped indirectly in their natural competition with the valuable species.
'"The remedy is simple enough, and can almost be guessed from the explanation above, namely, by killing at first those useless trees which overshadow mahogany trees, we can improve the regeneration of the latter and also their growth. The killing of the interfering useless trees can be done cheaply by ringing such trees; the majority of them die when a ring of the bark round the tree and part of the sapwood is removed. This method of improving selected species in a mixed tropical forest has been applied in other colonies on a large scale and with excellent and quick results, and there is no doubt from what I have observed in this country that it will give good results also here.
"Roughly speaking, about three improvements at intervals of about oue, two, or three years suffice for getting the improved areas well stocked with the selected species. A good deal depends on the training of the labourers and upon a good technical supervision. With unskilled or careless labourers and with insufficient technical supervision more
harm than good may be done to a forest. The useless trees must, for instance, not be removed too quickly, and light and shade have to be regulated judiciously.
"Mahogany cutters here generally believe that good mahogany trees cannot be grown in the open, but only in a dense forest. This observation is correct, for a very simple reason which need hot be explained here. Only the heads of the mahogany trees must be freed from overshadowing by useless trees; whilst other useless tres, particularly those standing below the crowns of mahogany trees, must not be removed. At a very moderate estimate the eventual yield of a fully stocked mahogany forest on an area, of 1,000 acres would be 1,000 tons of mahogany timber every year. That may appear to be a high figure as compared with the present actual yield of the wild forest. This estimate is, however, very low for a fully stocked forest, as mentioned already, and a comparison with the yield of a pure mahogany forest in Ceylon (it is British Honduras mahoganyswietenia macrophylla) suggests a higher figure, and so does a- comparison with the normal yield of well-managed European forests.
"The effect of the above-mentioned improvements can be seen distinctly in less than one year, when the branches of the improved trees are seen clearly to grow into the space of the dead crowns of the killed useless trees. The quicker maturing of those medium-sized trees, which have been stagnant, becomes then obvious. Many of them can be felled in less than half the time they would require for getting full sized if they were left alone.
"As the yield of well-stocked forests is ten to twenty times greater than that of the untreated forest, there is much saving in transport, because, for getting out the same quantity of wood, a ten to twenty times shorter mileage
-of roads is required than in the wild forest.
"Well-stocked forests of good marketable timber are worth good, permanent roads and railways, which conces-sionaires usually build at their own expense in such forests. The Belize Estate and Produce Company, Limited, and Messrs. Starkey Bros. found it even possible to do it in their present sub-normally stocked forests at Hilibank and Vaca respectively. The technical and financial solutions of the difficult problem of transport in this country may therefore be found in the development of the present wild forests
-under proper management.
" The scarcity of labour would not be felt so much in forestry, as relatively little labour is required for improving extensive areas. "
There will be an actual saving of labour in transport which will then become available for improvements.
All that has been said in this chapter about mahogany Cedar. may be applied also to cedar with certain little modifications which need not be mentioned here in detail.
SECTION 2 OF PART III.
SAPODILLA TREES (AND) CHICLE).
The chicle gum is the product of various kinds of sapo- There are various kinds
dilla trees. Sapodilla grows partly in the mahogany forests of sapodilla and partly also on poorer land in single mixture, together trees. with numerous other species of trees. The best known sapodilla tree has the botanical name achras sapota. Botanical material for identifying three of the local varieties has been sent to Kew Gardens, but at the time of writing this Report the examination of these specimens was not yet concluded. Some importance may be attached to this botanical examination, since some of the local varieties are not always easy to distinguish from the hitherto available information, whilst, on the other hand, the difference in their economic value is a great one.
Such distinction as is made locally between the various Local (115 tinction of
kinds of sapodilla trees has been derived originally from the varieties different appearance and the different qualities of their gurn, the chicle, and the latter can sometimes not be distinguished until cooked. This primary test of the product appears still to be the only quite reliable one for the "chicleros, i.e., the collectors of chicle, in those cases where the difference in the appearance of the trees is doubtful.
It is quite natural that in the interest of their business the chicleros tried to find out the differences in the appearance of the trees, and the following distinctions of four different trees have come to my notice:(1) "Female Sapodilla "-by far the best tree for producing chicle. Large edible fruit of good quality. Leaves smaller and closer together than those of any of the other kinds of sapodilla. However, the leaves of saplings are often abnormally large and their size and shape is, therefore, misleading. This tree is more numerous in the north of the Colony than in the south; the Sibun River may, roughly, be taken as the dividing line between good and inferior chicle. Female sapodilla "grows well on inferior soil, on so called ..Broken Ridge soil, but it grows also on the best soil together with mahogany.
(2) "Crown Sapodilla "-produces the second best chicle. The general appearance of this tree is so similar to No. (1), female sapodilla," that even chicleros are not always certain in distinguishing it, unless they can see the
National Heritage L ib r ar y
fruit, which is much smaller and of a slightly different and more elongated shape from those of the "female sapodilla,"
and not quite so delicious to eat as the latter.
(3) ale or "Bastard Sapodilla "-produces little
chicle, less fluid and of inferior quality. The leaves are considerably larger and further apart than those of Nos. (1) and (2). The fruit is small, inedible and grows in small bunches. This tree does not bear fruit every year. The belief that it does not bear any fruit at all is widespread.
The attribute male has no botanical significance; it is applied in the native nomenclature quite generally to plants of inferior quality, whilst the attribute female is here
usually used *for plants of superior quality.
(4) Chicle Bull "-the most useless of the various
sapodilla tree,. The leaves are smaller than those of the
male sapodilla. It is usually recognised by its fruit,
which are the size of grapes and grow in fairly great bunches
almost like grapes.
(5) Other varieties of sapodilla-It is very likely that
further investigations may lead to the discovery of several
additional varieties which have no names at present.
Even the above-mentioned four different kinds of sapodilla trees are not generally known. In many localities only two kinds are distinguished, a good and a bad one, i.e., in
the local nomenclature the female and the male
forctitcte (6) There are various other kinds of trees, which yeda
latex something like chicle and which are used for adulterating chicle.
One of them is the Ramoon tree (trophis americane), which is supposed to yield a fairly good substitute
Then there are two kinds of Silly Young trees
serving the same purpose. Besides these three relatively good substitutes there are quite a number of inferior substitutes derived from various kinds of trees which yield some
sort of white gum.
It is quite clear from the few facts mentioned above
that the collection of good chicle depends on many factors which are not easy to control. This is all the more difficult as all the above- mentioned trees are scattered over enormous
areas just like the mahogany trees.
Chicle is brought to Belize in large quantities from all
parts of the Colony and from the adjoining Republics of
Guatemala and Mexico.
quiffrtcy 1 According to localities whence it is collected, the lccoainto. quality differs. This is, no doubt, due to a great extent
to the varying occurrence of the different varieties of sapodilla, the chicle of which is usually mixed, and to the varying occurrence of substitutes which may be used for adulterating the chicle.
The possible combinations of mixing chicle are so numerous. The quality of chicle depends also on the type of men who collect it and their methods of collecting and cooking it.
It is, therefore, an open question whether the difference in the quality of chicle according to localities would be very marked if pure chicle from only the best kinds of sapodilla trees were collected.
The tapping of the sapodilla trees is done in an entirely method of different way from that of the Para rubber trees. It is not tappi. renewed every day as in the latter case. Mter the first
tapping, which is a severe one, the sapodilla tree is left alone again at the very least for a whole year, but more usually for a number of years, and sometimes for everwhen it is found that the tree was tapped to death, which occurs often enough.
There is a law which forbids the tapping to death of the sapodilla trees, but nobody takes much notice of it, as there is no adequate control such as the Federated Malay States have for protecting their gutta percha trees, which used also to be tapped to death before a Forest Department was established.
The cuts are not made on the herring bone system, but in a zigzag line from near the ground right up to the first branch. The chicleros are very clever in climbing any tree without much difficulty with the help of strong iron spurs on the legs, and a rope round the stem, which is moved upwards by degrees with a quick movement of the hands. This rope is tied round the waist. It rarely happens that a chiclero breaks his neck, and in such cases it is usually found that a worn-out rope was used.
The zigzag shape of the cuts originated not from any consideration as to the most economic way of bleeding the trees, but is solely due to the fact that it can easily be made with the ordinary bush knife, the machette," without which no native goes into the forest. The machette is much longer than the Malay parang and straight.
It may be worth trying, from an economic point of view, whether another than the zigzag cut would not give better results; however, another tool than the machette would be required for that experiment.
The first step of forest management as regards sapodilla Forest
trees would be to save what can be saved, and then as regards to improve. sapodia
The improvements could go hand in hand with those
described above in the case of mahogany trees, and could be done in a similar way by freeing the sapodilla trees from climbers and from suppressing useless trees, with but one modification, that in the case of sapodilla the treatment should be so as to give the sapodilla. trees the shape of fruit trees with large crowns and short stems. This can be achieved by almost isolating the "female sapodillas from the surrounding growth, i.e., by much heavier girdling of useless trees than is advisable in the ease of mahogany, and by not maintaining any undergrowth beneath the crowns, as is necessary in the case of mahogany. It is quite likely in the case of sapodilla that the increased yield of the first tapping about half a year or a year after the improvement
will more than pay for the cost of the improvement.
Also the production of the edible sapodilla fruits will
increase in proportion. Only the "feviale "sapodillas should be treated in this way; the other kinds are not worth
it; their growth might even be reduced.
Selection of As regards the areas which should be selected for areas for
sapodlia sapodilla improvements, there is a choice between three
(a) Improve the "female sapodilla "in the mahogany forest together with the mahogany trees,
when the latter are improved.
(b) Make sapodilla improvements on areas on which there is little or no competition with mahogany, i.e., on certain inferior soil, such as certain parts of the so-called
"Broken Ridge "land, where just the "female sapodilla "is often found in great numbers and sometimes not far from the sea, which makes transport easy. On well selected areas of this kind the improvements should
,,,).Wre gradually lead to the formation of fully stocked pure forests.sapodilla forests which would have the great advantage
of easy control, elimination of all inferior species of sapodilla and its substitutes, and greatly reduced cost
(c) The third possibility looks almost as promising as the possibilities of Para rubber were fifteen years ago, when scientifically laid out and well managed Para rubber plantations in the Malay States competed successfully with the same product from the wild forests
of South America.
This third possibility is to try to establish artificially
and directly what the eventual but much later result would be in case (b) above, iLe., a pure sapodilla forest. For doing this artificial planting would be necessary for filling as quickly as possible the gaps between the naturally grown sapodilla
trees. For making the best use of this opportunity it would be necessary to start before other countries get ahead in producing chicle in this way.
A similar opportunity was missed here once before in the case of Para rubber. St ch plantations as were made at that time-Para and Castilloa plantations-were failures because they were made by men who had not full knowledge of this special kind of work, although very capable otherwise. That was saving money on the wrong side.
At present this country would have the enormous advantage of having already good old sapodilla trees (parent trees) on its land, whilst other more progressive countries, such as the Malay States or Ceylon, would have to spend large
-amounts in capital and interest before they could have an
-equal stock of big trees for tapping and reproduction. However, in about eight to ten years the situation might be changed entirely, if this country does not make an early start before other countries can overtake it in this industry.
From a financial point of view the following few points Advantage of sa
would have to be considered in the case of a chicle =io=i plantation.(a) Great saving in collecting the chicle as compared with the collection at present from the scattered
trees over very long distances in the wild forest.
(b) Good uniform quality, clean stuff.
(c) All handling and cooking under supervision,
central factory possible and use of machinery.
(d) Supply guaranteed in regular rotation.
(e) Probably also extraction of chicle from the
leaves possible in central factory.
(f) Additional revenue from fruits and probably
also from the wood, which is of a good lasting quality.
Uncertain Point: The future demand.
The present demand is, in spite of a temporary slump in the chicle trade, so great that many large estates of this kind could make handsome profits, even at the present relatively low prices. If the demand were decreasing to a fraction of what it is now, it would probably be the wild chicle that would be eliminated first.
In view of the uncertainties of the future, it is, of course, understood that this kind of enterprise is more or less of the same speculative nature as Para rubber plantations were at their early beginning, but also the results may be as gratifying. The demand may just as well increase, as it is believed to do, as it may decrease.
It should take a sapodilla estate of the above mentioned
kind (with a stock of wild growing tappable trees on it) not more than about ten to twenty years to repay the whole capital outlay with good dividend; in this ease a possible decrease in price and demand is taken into account, and could not do much harm, if it were a slow one. The product is much easier to store and to transport than bananas, and in this sense less risky. In order to prevent any misunderstanding, it is bere repeated again that, in view of the distinctly speculative nature of such an enterprise, only people or companies who are already interested in the chicle trade and have faith in it, or who wish to invest money in a promising speculation-and there are enough who like to venture that--can be advised to try to establish sapodilla
For tha Government it may be advisable in the interest
of the country to do it. on a small experimental scale. In each case, private or Government, it is strongly recommuended here, either to get it done under thoroughly competent management, or, if that is not desired, better not
to try it at all.
Present stock of sapodilla trees.-The present stock of
sapodilla trees of all varieties appears to be slightly greater than that of mahogany. That has been my general impression on my tours through the various forest lands of British Honduras, and I have no doubt that subsequent counting would prove it to be correct. It is impossible to say what percentage of the total stock consists of the best variety, i.e.,
of the female sapodilla.
On one inspection of a forest in the northern part of the
Colony which is known generally for producing a much better quality of chicle than the south, I noticed that every sapodilla tree I met was a female one, whilst in other forests
again, in the north as well as in the south, the female"
sap odilla trees were decidedly in the minority. There are distinct indications of a decreasing tendency of the stock of the best kinds of sapodilla owing to ruthless tapping, which damages and kills many trees. It is quite natural that the chicleros concentrate their attention chiefly to the best kind, consequently it is the best kind which suffers most. In this case also good capital stock is gradually, though slowly, being destroyed, to the detriment of future generations,
instead of being increased.
Yield and The quantity of chicle which is obtainable from a snl
rotation of snl
tapping, tree varies according to the size of the tree, the species, the
locality, and, apparently, to a great extent also according to the time of tapping. The yield per tree seems to vary from 2 to 6 lbs. of good chicle. This may be taken as a very conservative estimate. About 25 lbs. is believed to be the
maximum yield of a single tree in this country, whilst the maximum yield on record of a single tree in Mexico is 61 lbs. There is some loss of weight in the subsequent cooking of the chicle milk. Chicleros told me that this loss of weight amounts to only about 10 per cent. to 20 per cent. of the original weight; however, this appeared to be pure guesswork. In some cases the newly collected chicle milk is much more fluid than in other cases; the more fluid the milk the more pounds per tree.
The best time for tapping is supposed to be the early morning before it gets hot.
The moon is firmly believed to have great influence upon The influence of the moon
the flow of the milk, and it is the time of the new moon when upon the flow chicle is supposed to flow best. of chicle milk
and upon the
On the other hand, the time of the full moon ip supposed mahogany. here to be the best time for felling wood; the wood felled at this time is believed to contain less sap, to be not nearly so much attacked by insects and fungi and to last longer. Many who read this may feel inclined to consider this belief in the influence of the moon to be absurd and ridiculous. It appears, however, that several educated men who took it at first in that sense when they came newly to this country, became converted later by their own experience. Be that as it may, it would be unwise to disregard it as a mere superstition before more accurate observations are made. In the case of tapping chicle it would not be at all too difficult to make a reliable experiment, and to express in figures the difference in the yield.
If the supposed influence of the moon upon sapodilla trees and timber-yielding trees be found to be correct, the scientific explanation might perhaps be that in clear tropical full moon nights the evaporation of moisture from trees may possibly be so much greater than in the darker nights of the new moon, that there is less sap and pressure in the trees in the first case (full moon) than in the second case (new moon).
T'his theory would explain both the better, flow of chicle at the time of new moon as well as the smaller quantity of sap in the wood during the time of the full moon.
Whether this theory is right or wrong may be decided by specialists on the physiology of plants. I am advancing it here only on the spur of the moment and without even having a text book on the physiology of plants with me, and I am prompted to do so by the thought that even in the case of it being found to be wrong it may be quite useful to make others think about it, whilst in tl e case of the theory being right it would be of great economic value to various industries (rubber tapping forest' industries, etc.) of all the tropical countries of th world.
required for The yield of about 2 to 6 lbs. of chicle per tree, which tapping, was mentioned further above, is the result of one single
tapping. There is, therefore, considerable less labour required than in the case of Para rubber trees, where small quantities have to be tapped regularly every day. No definite reply can be given to the question as to when the same tree can be tapped again; that depends upon various circumstances, first of all on the damage which is caused by
In the most favourable cases which have come to my
notice, the tapping could be renewed two years after the first very conservative tapping; in the worst cases, however, trees tapped once could never he tapped again owing to their dying from the ruthless first tapping. Under proper supervision it should be possible to tap the same tree over and
over agaip in a regular rotation of a few years.
SECTION 3 OF PART III.
The rosewood forests are not pure forests of that one
species, but mixed tropical :forests of aumierous species, amongst which the rosewood trees are distinctly in the minority. They grow very scattered, and their average number per acre appears to be about the same as that of
mahogany in the mahogany forests.
LocaitVy R9sewood forests are only found in the south of the
Colony, whilst mahogany is found in all parts of the country,
also in the southern rosewood forests.
Rosewood does not grow on hills as a rule; there is a
helt of rosewood forest of considerable width extending from the Sarstoon River, which forms the southern frontier of the Colony, in a northerly direction as far as the Deep River.
T'he greater part of this belt lies some distance inland; near the town of Punta Gorda, however, it comes quite close to the sea. This fact that this rosewood belt touches the sea on one place is a very fortunate one, as it will make it
relatively easy to start to develop the forests from there.
TRe repo The reproduction of rosewood is ever so much easier than
rosewood. that of mahogany, because, in addition to the reproduction
from seeds, it grows also from shoots of the stumps, or felled trees. The existence of rosewood seedlings was altogether unknown to the guide and the labourers who accompanied me through those forests; I happened, however, to find some seedlings and have little doubt that, with similar treatment to that suggested already for mahogany, many more seedlings would establish themselves.
The most obvious and cheap and easy measure which simple
should be taken to prevent the destruction of the rosewood recommended. forests would be to safeguard the young shoots on the stumps of felled trees. They usually grow vigorously in great numbers and hinder each other from getting straight. All that is required for getting a gain a straight tree in place of a felled tree is to cut with a knife or machette the superfluous shoots and to leave only the best one. This measure alone would be quite sufficient under present conditions.
Should the rosewood market, which is very small at present, assume larger proportions later, as is very probable, then it would be worth while to pay also some attention to an increased reproduction from seeds, because trees grown from seeds are in various respects superior to trees grown from shoots of old stools.
It has bean mentioned before in Part II. thatthe present Wasteful utilization at
system of utilizing the rosewood forests is so wasteful and present. destructive that it will be better, in the interest of the future of this country, that the output should remain small until a Forest Department can take care of these forests.
Judging from the small size of the rosewood logs which one sees occasionally transloaded at Belize one might think that the rosewood tree is a small tree. That is not the case. The maximum height of rosewood trees is about 100 ft., with clean boles, in the best cases, of about 60 ft. to 70 ft. in length. I have seen such trees in the rosewood forest between the Tenash and Noho Rivers.
In another rosewood forest I found a log of large diameter which had been left behind some time ago to, rot; it was rosewood of good quality. On enquiry I was told by a labourer that it was probably too heavy for transport (about half a mile to the boat), but my guide was of opinion that he could have managed well enough to take it out and that the labourers were not sufficiently supervised, and found it, therefore, more comfortable to leave that heavy log behind for rotting. In this case, the best part of the tree was wasted, the middle section was used, and the upper section of the stern was again wasted, because it was considered to be not worth the transport, as better logs were easily obtainable in the vicinity. This instance shows better than any general description how the inherited capital stock of fine trees is being removed and wasted to a great extent; and what is left for the future in the place of each felled rosewood tree are numerous shoots from the stumps which cannot grow straight without help, and will never become trees of value if not improved.
One interesting feature of rosewood trees is that they Rtosewod appear to resist fire pretty well, as I have noticed in several fire.
instances. This fact may become valuable later for silvicultural purposes, which need no further explanation here.
Distances for Such difficulties of transport as do exist in the rosetransport.
wood forests could be overcome quite well if the exploitation were done more systematically. The distance to the rivers is much shorter here than in the case of mahogany; it is on the average only about half a mile to three-quarters of a mile. The rosewood forests further back are still almost
Proposals for It will be sufficient for the present to safeguard measures to be
taken by the existing stock, and see that on each stump the best shoot Forest
Department. is helped by cutting the others; furthermore, to try to
reduce the wastage.
For accomplishing this an occasional inspection of the
rosewood works by a Forestry Officer will be required, who should have certain powers under a Forest Law which is
But a law without effective control would help very
little. It might even do more harm than good by making
people accustomed to disregard laws.
Rosewood" Besides the proper rosewood in the south of the Colony
wrongly there are two other and entirely different trees in the forests
other trees, further north, which are also called rosewood." They
are, however, not of sufficient importance to be dealt with here separately. They are treated in this Report as part of
the numerous other woods in Section 7 below.
SECTION 4 OF PART III.
About one-third of the whole area of the country is
covered by pine forests. Their nature is entirely different from that of the already discussed forests of mahogany, sapodilla and rosewood. The difference lies in the fact that the British Honduras Pine (pinus cubensis) forms pure
forests of this one species.
Undergrowth. Such other trees as are found in these pine forests attain
not nearly the same height as the pines, and, from a silvicultural point of view, they are, therefore, more of the nature of an undergrowth; they cannot become dominating in competition with pine.
The two most important of these secondary trees are a
species of a small oak of usually bad shape (probably quercus virens) and a small fruit tree, the craboo (byrsoninta spiceata?) with yellow berries, which latter are edible but not
These two secondary trees, and a few others of similar type in addition, help to keep the very poor sandy soil of these forests in a better physical condition than would be the case without them.
This fact is of more importance in the long run than the revenue which is obtainable directly from these secondary species from the sale of oak charcoal, which is of good quality, and of the craboo fruit, which is cheap.
Ref ercnce to
As regards the main product of these pine forests, i.e., my preliminthe pine trees, it was mentioned already in the Introduction ary Repprt on to this Report that I wrote a separate Report on this sub- Honduras ject on a special occasion. Pine Forests.
From that separate Report statements of general interest, and of more or less permanent importance, have been taken over into this chapter on pines of the present Report, so as to have all questions on the British Honduras forests together in a single Report.
Under an existing agreement the mature pine trees (-n Gfreater part Crown land, with the exclusion of three areas, were sold to to a cona company seventeen years ago under the condition that ceesionaire at one cent, a
their right to utilize these trees (by way of cutting, bleed- tree. ing, etc.) should expire after twenty-six years, i.e., nine years hence.
No operations have been started during those seventeen years.As no attempt has been made hitherto to establish a market value market f or the British Honduras pine wood, or, in other of pine wood: words, as there has been neither supply nor demand hitherto to regulate prices, no proper market price can be stated. The technical qualities of the wood are also not sufficiently known f or making a safe estimate of its market value. Arrangements for getting it properly tested have been made, but that takes a long time. The best and most reliable way of finding out its market value would be to bring it on the market in quantities.
There is no doubt that this pine wood is of excellent Erhntoo quality as far as its durability is concerned. It is also rich qualities of in resin and makes good torches. Some small experiments wood3 ae which I have made in tapping the resin together with Mr. known. Oliphant were very promising; others failed. This qutis- The extraction requires further investigations on a much larger scale. tion of resin. Local public opinion on this subject of extracting resin from the British Honduras pine trees may be taken as quite unreliable; from numerous enquiries which I have made it appears that it has never yet been tried properly. American experts on extracting resin appear to be quite hopeful, if niot
sure, of getting the resin out, but quite naturally they prefer to be silent before they actually start operations. There are distinct indications of large American lumber companies considering seriously the advisability of exploiting forests of
this species of pine (resin and/wood) on a big scale. Local
distinction of According to the quality and colour of the wood two different different varieties are distinguished, namely, a white kinds of pinei pine and a yellow pine.
Some people go further and distinguish four different
kinds, also from the appearance of the wood only, namely, a white pine, a yellow pine, a black pine and a
After making these distinctions, primarily from the
appearance of the wood, it has been tried to find also some botanical difference, so as to be able to know from the outer appearance of a tree what kind of wood there will be inside.
A great professional botanist, Sir Daniel Morris, could
find no distinct botanical difference, whilst many natives and some other local experts think they are almost sure in distinguishing the trees by their outer appearance. It is certainly not easy to do it.
I I examined numerous cases and found in, a good many
of them that my informants became soon doubtful as to their original identification of a pine tree as white or 11 yellow," etc., when- these, cases were gone into,
There appears, however, to be a fairly certain distinction
according to the locality in which the trees grow, inasmuch as the white pine seems to grow more near the edge of the pine areas under slightly better conditions of growth than the yellow pine has on the very poorest soil in the more open centre of the pine forests. This fact makes the guessing easier.
Apart from that there are occasionally clear cases,
besides many doubtful ones, in which white and 11 yellow pines can be distinguished by their outer appearance. The characteristics which are in reality, however, not very marked and require some experience in
observing, are:(a) White pine: The needles and branches are a bit more upright, and the bark is slightly more brittle
and a shade less glossy.
(b) Yellow pine: Needles and branches spreading out slightly, scales of bark a bit thinner and
No doubt in many cases the difference in age and
various other factors account for the difference in the quality
of the wood. In the case of the European pine (pinus silvestris) the quality of the wood also varies considerably according to locality, etc.
The greater part of the British Honduras pine f orests Type ot land~ are on low lying and flat land of poor sandy soil; there are, o" which p~ine however, also some pine forests found on hills. The general ros appearance of the low lying pine ridge is very deceiving in wet weather; the first impression is that travelling (and also the extraction of timber) over this fairly open, flat and sandy land should be very easy in any direction and at any time; many creeks, rivers and swamps, however, cannot be crossed by man and horse during the wet season.
The following notes from my diary may illustrate this
- On more than one occasion (on Sunday, 31st October, 1920) my guide and I found it impossible to cross insignificant creeks, because the banks were too swampy, so that the horses sank too deep before they got into the creeks. At the first creek, met after one hour's ride, we had to make a deviation of about one mile towards west; then we came to a long but narrow strip of swamp; we tried to get through it, but had to turn back, as it was too deep; we went then a long way around it. Similar difficulties occurred repeatedly; they are supposed not to exist during the dry season, or only to a small extent. On nearly the whole way the ground was so soft from the. rain that the horses could rarely go fast. That is also not the case during the dry season.
-These facts are of some importance for arranging the extraction of timber.
-On the next day, Monday (1st November, 1920), there was again the same difficulty with creeks and swamps as the day before. On more than one occasion we had to dismount on swampy ground and to pull the horses behind us, wading in the water a long distance."
In the dry season I found later it is very easy to get through the pine forests in almost any direction, and it is then pleasure to gallop over such land; the crossing of creeks offers then only little or no difficulty.
The construction of logging roads and rough logging Cosruto railways through the flat sandy land of the pine forests would logging be very easy and cheap. The side drains of such roads railways easy. would probably drain the land to a great extent, as it is sufficiently undulating for artificial drainage, although the average observer may perhaps hardly notice the slight changes in the levels. Furthermore, the distances of draining water to the nearest creeks would not be great anywhere.
There are, therefore, good prospects for carrying on
logging operations even in'the wet season, if such drainage is provided, either directly or indirectly, by roads and
Damage by The stock of the pine forests of this country, with only
fire. a few and very small exceptions, is in a sub-normal and
unsatisfactory state; they are subject at present to a process of slow, but sure, destruction by fire. The mature trees succumb gradually and the young seedlings get usually killed by fire in their first year of life so that no young forest can
On several places the pine forest has actually been
destroyed so entirely that not a single living tree is left, and on large areas the destruction is so far advanced that the former forest can no longer be classed as a forest "; it is now poor grass savannah with some pine trees on it and with numerous half-burnt trees lying on the ground, thus showing that there was a forest before. It is easy for anyone to see this effect on the destruction by fire, and everyone who has been with me in the pine forests (educated people and uneducated labourers) saw and realised the above facts
quickly when their attention was drawn to it.
The only thing they wondered at afterwards was that
they themselves had not noticed that before, and had never thought that those annual fires can do so much damage; they also wondered that no one has ever drawn their attention to
Origin of I have been assured repeatedly that the majority of the
people who set the grass in the pine forests on fire every year hardly realise that they do any damage. It is done practically by everybody and sometimes for very trivial reasons.
There is some excuse in certain cases for burning the
grass on limited areas for cattle grazing, but it is done too
freely for hunting purposes, and even for pleasure.
of the A selected and relatively good pine forest, which conrelatively tained, however, less than one-third of a normal stock of beat ine
forests. pine wood-the other two-thirds having been destroyed by
fire--on a newly-proposed concession area was considered worth the construction of roads and of a simple railway, by
the concessionaire who applied for it.
It must be added, now that this concession has not come
into operation, not for any technical reasons with regard to the forest, but simply because the concessionaire thought that he should get easier terms than were proposed originally; meanwhile, a heavy slump in the world's market
has occurred which made even well-founded companies think it advisable to delay new operations if possible.
Another large company is supposed to have started operations quite recently in a very similar forest in another territory of Central America.
If measures were taken for raising the stock of Future
the British Honduras pine forests gradually to normal, there prospects. should be no difficulty in getting the whole pine area opened by simple railways at the expense of concessionaires.
Considering now that these pine forests cover one-third Help for ~solving the of the area of the country, they should be a great help some colony's day for financing the construction of proper railways and problem of roads over one-third of the whole country.
The question of the future forest policy with regard to the pine forests may, therefore, become of great importance for the development of this Colony.
The measures that have to be taken for bringing these Measures for Sbringinmh
pine forests into good order are relatively simple, but p orests
require great energy and have to be applied systematically into good by a special staff. They are not expensive, and their cost condton. can probably be defrayed out of the current revenue from the very same pine forests, as soon as a proper start is made.
One peculiarity of the British Honduras pine, which I raturalt have observed in most places, willhelp to make the reaffores- plentiful but destroyed by
station easv and cheap, i.e., the plentiful natural reproduc- red. tion, which, under present conditions, is, of course again destroyed by fire every year; tiny young seedlings, usuallly hidden between and below the grass and not seen and recognised by most people, are found in great numbers.
This fact is of great value, as it saves a large amount. of expenditure for artificial reafforestation, which would be necessary otherwise. The latter may be required in exceptional cases only.
The only measure that is now necessary at the beginning for stopping the present process of destruction, and for securing at the same time reafforestation and better growth, is protection from fire on selected areas.
A proper system of protection from fire, as in other countries, is necessary with systematically laid out fire lines under the control of a qualified forester, and with a special staff for patrolling during the dry season. A Forest Ordinance will also be required for this purpose.
The result that can safely be anticipated would be :- Probable result of fire
1. Natural reproduction would be secured. protection.
2. No destruction of old trees.
3. Better timber (the majority of the old trees are damaged by fire).
4. Better growth, because the physical condition of the soil would improve, as can easily be demonstrated
5. Finally, a well-stocked pine forest opened by roads and railways and yielding a good net revenue.
No objection Cattle grazing and forestry can be combined easily, as ito a limited
burning of is done in India and other countries.
grazing The greater part of the soil under and between the pine
cra~ng trees is covered with a kind of poor grass. Another relatively good quality of grass is only found on some selected areas, such a~s certain portions of the so-called "Southern Pine Ridge," where grazing is possible the whole year
On the remaining much greater part of the pine area,
where only grass of poor quality grows, grazing is only pos,sible during a few months every year after burning the old grass. This burning is done at present with no regard whatever to the pine trees, and in such cases, for instance, where a burning over 10,000 acres would be sufficient for the cattle, the fire is allowed to spread over 100,000 acres
It is this unlimited and wasteful annual burning that
is objectionable and does so much unnecessary harm to the
Large pine trees are fire-resisting to a great extent, and
-an occasional fire at intervals does not do them much harm, but if the fire is annually recurrent the thickest pine bark gets eventually burnt through, and then after some time the trees will succumb. Small pine trees get killed the first
Such burning as is considered necessary for cattle
grazing should therefore be limited to the actual requirements and should be done in a certain rotation, and should be regulated with a view to protecting young pine trees and ,of preventing annual recurrence in the old fores ts. General
working plans will be required for this purpose.
.Stock per acre of pine wood.-The stock of marketable
pine trees varies greatly even on comparatively small areas.
Some relatively good forest is found in belts and in
isolated patches, but there are many and extensive areas of bad forest and of grass savannah between the good patches.
'The bad and unworkable forest covers undoubtedly a much
'greater area than the relatively good forest.
For getting reliable figures of what may be considered the average present cubic content of the exploitable and relatively good pine forest, I measured the trees of a selected sample plot near Cowpen, of which the figures are given below. It should be borne in mind that this sample plot was not of the very best type; it was about the average type of the relatively good workable belts of pine.
The following were the heights I measured:- Height Of
TOTAL HEIGHT OF TREES.
GIRTH OF TREES.
Ift. 2ft. 3ft. 4ft. aft. 6ft. 7ft.
i Feet. Feet. Feet. Feet. Feet. Feet. Feet.
- 50 74 96 88 98 102
55 68 100 90 93
-M hegt 85 81 93 111
Measured heights 87 95 90 92
- 60 82 86
75 80 90 6- -- 8 82 I 86
_ __ 86
- 105 517 702 623 394
1 7 !8 7 4
Actual average 52-5 73-85 '87-75 89 98-5 102
Height curve ....... 25 53 74 85 92 98 102
HEIGHT TO FIRST BRANCH.
GIRTH OF TREES.
ift. 2ft. 3 t. 4 ft. 5ft. 6ft. 7ft. Feet. Feet. Feet. Feet. Feet. Feet. Feet.
- 33 35 47 52 55 61
26 42 40 42 51
- 62 57 52 69
Measured heights 55 80 1 43
- 40 56 --- z 35 56 --
- 52 -49
59 26 437 146 218
1 6 8 3 4
Actual average ... 295 44-83 54.62 48.66 I 54-5 61
Height curve........- 30 44 50 53 55 57
contnts. The girth classes were represented in the following proportions on a total area of 2-2 acres :
Girth at 4 feet 6 -inches from Number of Trees.
(7 ins, to 1 ft. 6 ins.)
2 ft. 11
(1 ft. 7 ins, to 2 ft. 6 ins.)
3 ft. 44
(2 ft. 7 ins, to 3 ft. 6 ins.)
4 ft, 47
(3 ft. 7 ins, to 4 ft. 6 ins.)
5 ft. 42
(4 ft. 7 ins, to 5 ft. 6 ins.)
6 ft. 6
(5 ft. 7 ins, to 6 ft. 6 ins.)
7 ft. 4
(6 ft. 7 ins, to 7 ft. 6 ins.)
Total on 2.2 acres .. .. ..158 trees.
Therefore: Total on I acre ... 72 trees witb, a cubic content Of 2,984 cubic feet (quarter girth measurement).
comprio F or frignow some opinion of the comparative value
good forest., of such a forest, the following comparison with good forests conris of other countries may be interesting:-:
The stock per acre of a mature spruce forest
of the best quality is ... ... ... 9,500
Of spruce medium quality ... ... ... 6,300 Of Scotch pine, medium quality ... ... 4,300
Whilst that of the relatively good part of the
British Honduras pine forest is ... ... 3,000
(The Cowpen sample plot measured 2,984 cubic feet.)
Thus, the average stock per acre of the relatively good
parts of the British Honduras pine forest is considerably less than that of Scotch pine, medium quality; it is just
in the middle between medium and bad.
This comparison refers only to the present, actual, and
sub-normal quantity of wood per acre, and should not he mistaken for classing the British Honduras pine forest
When fully stocked, its cubic content per aere will
probably rank above Scotch pine, medium quality, as does it average height, which is satisfactory and equal to Scotch
pine, second quality, i.e., between best and medium.
*Quarter Girth Measurement.
The following technical clauses suggest themselves, Proposel when concessions are granted in pine forests of this type clauses for Pine
No adequate seeding can be expected, if too many Concessions. seed-bearing trees are removed. Therefore, the right must Reserve some be reserved to a Forestry Officer to select, and exclude from parent trees. cutting, not more than 2 per cent. of the mature trees for the purpose of using them as mother trees for regeneration. Such trees may be cut later by the concessionaire.
The young plants have then to be protected from fire Protect the young plante
under a proper system, as mentioned above. For this pur- irom fire and
pose it is necessary that the worked out areas, one after the sub-divide areas.
other, should revert to the sole and final control of a Forestry Officer, and should thus be excluded from the concession land consecutively and finally. For doing this, each selected concession area has to be divided into sections at the very beginning.
This is easily and quickly done by using as much as possible natural lines, such as creeks, swamps, palmetto patches, well known trails, the telephone line, open
savannahs, etc. The concessionaire shall be at liberty to start his work of extracting timber in any section and at any time, but he shall not be allowed to work in any one section longer than five consecutive years. This restriction will hardly be felt by him if he organizes his work properly, and it is necessary for the sake of reafforesting the worked out areas consecutively and within reasonable time. Any special wishes of the concessionaire with regard to the formation of those sections shall be complied with as far as possible.
Such areas as are considered unworkable from the very beginning by the concessionaire on account of their insufficient stock of timber, must be the first to be excluded from the concession land and should be put under a Forestry Officer's control as soon as possible. They will be the first to be improved by protection from fire.
In order to induce concessionaires to exclude from their concession land, without undue delay, such areas as they do not, or no longer, require for the extraction of timber, they should have to pay a small annual fee of say 5 to 10 cents per acre for the land under their control at the beginning of every year.
Technically that fee could be considered to be a small compensation for the annual increment of wood on the still unworked areas.
One of the duties of a Forestry Officer will be to prepare Permanent forest working
permanent working plans for selected pine forests with the plan, object in view of calculating the present and future yield of those forests for regulating their utilization so that a sustained and regular output of timber will be secured for all time.
National Heritage 5
As mentioned once before, it is not unreasonable
to expect that the cost for all necessary forestry work in pine forests can be defrayed out of the revenue from the same forests as soon as concessions come into operation.
Later, when these forests are better stocked, they should
yield a handsome net revenue.
When large areas of the pine forests are opened by
logging railways at the expense of concessionaires that will also make the agricultural land on the other side of the pine forests accessible and without any cost to Government. in
this sense forestry would prepare the way for agriculture. Present and (a) Present Yield-The following figures from a rough of Brtih estimate of a selected area of about 350 square miles in Honduras extent give some idea of the present yield. About twopine forests, thirds of that area, or say roughly 250 square miles, -which
is a little more than two-thirds, had to be considered un,workable at present because the trees are too scattered, and there is savannah land between, whilst the remaining 100 square miles are considered to be workable forest consisting of good forest belts and of not too distant good patches of pines, of about the same average quality ils the sample plot, of which figures were given on page 63. The meaning of
workable "changes, of course, according to the fluctuation in prices. Thus, if prices arc high, more trees could be considered to be workable, because it would pay to extract trees from a greater distance and also trees of inferior
quality, than if prices ware low.
The number of workable trees have, therefore, to be
estimated within very wide limits. In this case it was estimated that there were not less than 1,000,000, but possibly 3,000,000 marketable trees, distributed over about 100 square miles. That area formed one working unit with
access to a natural harbour.
(b) Permanent Yield-From general observations of
the rate of growth of the British Honduras pine, and from comparison with the yield of other fully stocked pine forests of a, similar type, it is safe to estimate that, under proper forest management, a permanent yield from the British Honduras pine forests could he obtained of at least half a ton of timber per acre every year, but possibly twice that
quantity may be obtainable.
The forests would he worked of course in a certain
rotation of about 30 to 50 years, with a periodical yield per
acre of about 20 to 50 tons.
At this rate of growth an area of 100,000 acres con yield
permanently every year at least 50,000 tons of pine wood, but quite likely twice that amount. All that woulld be required for achieving this, would be protection from fire to
save the natural reproduction.
In this case of an area of 100,000 acres the annual
coup would be about 2,000 acres or more, and the road and railway construction would progress steadily year after year from one 2,000-acre block to the next, according to a 611l thought out plan.
It is the large area of the British iHonduras pine forests The forest liywith
which makes it so important that they should be utilised rpogr to and developed. A weighty additional reason for doing this pine forests is that the soil on that extensive area is so inferior that on account of I reat extent
besides some poor grass, pine wood is almost the onl V f pine area. one, and certainly the most valuable commodity, that can be grown there. If that were not done, about one-third of the country would remain practically waste land from an economic point of view.
During my mission here I took the initiative on a. second Prset of strigpine
occasion to get this new industry started; but negotiations operations of this kind take some time to mature. To do this was really now. outside my original programme of making investigations and recommendations only.
Once a start is made further development, as outlined above, would follow quite naturally with technical help.
Amongst foresters it is well enough known that the stock of pines of our not very distant end great neighbour, the United States of America, is decreasing considerably, and that probably within the next 10 years the present large American export trade in such pine wood as is similar in quality to the British Honduras pine, will gradually have to, be replaced by an import trade to the United States.
We should be prepared for that time. And with some activity it should be possible to start business even at the present time by granting concessions for long periods so as to enable the concessionaires to he secure when the present American stocks become exhausted.
Representatives of a large American pine company are just now, at the time of writing this Report, making experiments of tapping the resin here in private pine forests, and their preliminary tests have proved to be satisfactory.
SECTION 5 OF PART III.
THE LOGWOOD FORESTS.
A statement of the existing export business in logwood from this Colony has been given already in Part II. (page 14), when the importance of the logwood industry was briefly discussed.
On that occasion it was mentioned that the main use of logwood is to extract a dye stuff, and that there is competition with synthetic dyes.
It was also stated that better financial results could
probably be obtained from the sale of logwood by keeping the better qualities separate from the inferior ones. It would probably also pay to concentrate in the forest more
attention to the best quality. Two different
types oferent As far as the localities are concerned, two types of loglogwood wood forests may be distinguished, namely :forests, on
wet land and dry land an. (a) Swamp forest (" black and yellow logwood).
(b) Dry land forest (" Catseem and Charrak "
Four different As shown in the brackets above there are two different kinds of
logwood trees; kinds of logwood trees in the swamp forest, namely :(1) The black or broad leaf logwood, which is the best of all (hcematoxylon campechianuma).
(2) The yellow or small leaf logwood,
which is supposed to be distinctly inferior in quality as
compared with No. (1).
In the dry land forest there are again two, other different
kinds of trees, namely :(3) The catseem logwood, which is fairly good; and
(4) The charrak or white catseem," which is very inferior in quality and is considered useless in
To these four kinds might be added a fifth kind-to make
the list complete-namely :(5) Bastard logwood or red fowl," which is quite useless, and grows on so called Broken Ridge
It is likely that on further investigation additional
varieties will be discovered.
Good natural No. (1) and No. (2) (" black and yellow logwood) reproduction
of black and grow in groups of pure forests. yellow
logwood; Their natural reproduction is usually plentiful and easy,
hinaings from seeds as well as from coppice shoots. In all logwood
forests of this kind, and also in a few small logwood plantations which I have seen, I noticed that the growth is usually all too thick and unfavourable for the production of stems of good size. It seems that none of the logwood owners have ever thought of the advisability of making thinnings. Heavy thinnings in favour of the relatively best stems and the best species would do good in nearly every case, and world give
not only better, but also quicker, results.
Growth of The catseem logwoods, i.e., the other two kinds of
logwoods. logwood (No. (3) and No. (4) above) do not grow as a rule
in groups of pure catseem forests, but singly, together witlI
other small trees and on entirely different soil from that which is suitable for black and yellow logwood (Nos. (1) and (2) above). The favourite soil of catseem is rather dry and of inferior quality (poor Broken Ridge soil), just a bit better than the soil in the pine forests; v hilst the other logwood grows on very wet soil.
The natural reproduction of catseem is as easy as that of the black and yellow logwood as described above, and the treatment would be about the same. With some artificial help it could also be grown in groups of pure catseem forests, but that would hardly be a practical proposition at the present time.
For a wood technologist it should be possible later to Additional desirable
find additional uses for logwood of good size and shape orfuture. besides that of extracting dyestuff only.
Logwood patches are scattered over large areas, chiefly situation of in the north of the Colony. forests)
The felling and transport of logwood require less capital Felling and than mahogany, and are therefore also undertaken by transport.
capitalists with limited means who employ only small gangs. Logwood does not float, and is brought down the river in small boats, like rosewood.
SECTION 6 OF PART III.
These are a very distinct type of forest, well known in nearly all parts of the tropics, and composed of only a limited number of species.
They cover a considerable area in /British Honduras along the sea shore, and on river banks gar the sea, and on islands.
They are of very little importance at present, but some Probable good use may be in store from there later. In the Federated future use. Malay States, for instance, the mangrove forests are worked systematically under forest working plans, and supply in a regular rotation a large quantity of fuel for an up-to-date railway, and yield a handsome net revenue every year.
A few peculiarities of the British Honduras mangrove forests may be noteworthy.
The name mangrove tree is applied here commonly Four diferent kinds of
to four different species of trees, of which only two, a large- mangrove" sized and a dwarf species, are proper mangrove, of the genus trees.
rhizophora. The large species is the so-called red mangrove (rhizophora mangle); the so-called white mangrove is no proper mangrove (it is probably laguncularia
racemosa), and so is the black mangrove.
The red or proper mangrove, with its high air roots,
does the pioneer work of taking hold of newly formed deposits
of soils near the sea shore.
On slightly higher ground the so-called black mangrove grows together with the proper mangrove, with the tendency of replacing gradually the latter, and then follows the so-called white mangrove. Sometimes all these
three kinds are seen growing together.
Quaity of The wood of all these three kinds appears to be quite good
woove for various technical purposes, but in view of the numerous
other species of British Honduras woods which are discussed briefly in the next Section, it cannot be considered to deserve
first attention at present.
Mangrove trees produce a good tanning bark.
The dwarf The, dwarf mangrove never attains a height of more than
about 5 feet and must not be mistaken for a young forest of the large size variety. The dwarf mangrove forms pure forests and does not seem to grow together with the large size variety; from an economic point of view it may be considered to be almost useless except for holding together newly accumulated soil for other vegetation which follows later;
but that is a very slow process which takes centuries.
SECTION 7 OF PAaT III.
LARGE NUMBER OF HITHERTO NEGLECTED VARIETIES OF FOREST TREES.
It has been mentioned already in the Introduction to
this Report that the number of the hitherto neglected varieties of trees is so great that a complete botanical and economic investigation into all of them would certainly take
Wide field It may even be doubtful if it could be done within a
for investigations. decade, judging from the time it has taken specialists with
well equipped laboratories to investigate fully the relatively
few species of European forests.
All a single man with no staff can accomplish in this
respect, within the very limited time which was at my disposal for this kind of work, in addition to the other
investigations which are the subject of this Report, is to do some preliminary sifting out of the more important varieties from the less important ones, and thus to clear the way for future practical work, with the object in view of getting as soon as possible good economic results.
Even these preliminary investigations of mine into the hitherto neglected varieties of trees have produced enough material for writing,, if necessary, a whole book on them.
For the purpose of the present Report, which will give Detaile too
a iwof the situation as a whole, and chiefly an economic ""mr'u to
view be included
view-it will suffice to summarise briefly the most important in this Report. facts as regards these secondary species.
The total present stock of wood of these secondary Aaiable species is great, and may safely be estimated to be not less subsidiary than 50,000,000 tons (not including the pine forests), hut it woods. is not impossible that their total stock is even more than 100,000,000 tons.
These figures alone showc that the question of finding some practical use for these secondary species is not a purely academic one. It is very likely that a large portion of this wood can he used for wood pulp, and that many valuable products could he manufactured by "destructive distillation."~ Utilisation of this kind would have to be organised on a big scale.
The figures above show- also that the task of a Forest Department in this country will not be an easy one, and that there are great possibilities for the future.
There is not the slightest doubt that many of these secondary woods are very useful for various purposes, and that they would be marketable if their qualities were only hatter known.
In order to find out their qualities, particularly their Good quality lasting qualities, I have watched their local uses on many oos povted occasions, and for demonstrating it I have collected Some by local use. specimens of such local woods as had been in practical use under various circumstances and for a considerable time. His Excellency the Governor inspected the collection and took great interest in it, and so did several M~embers of Council.
In addition to that, I sent samples of fourteen different Logs sent to London for
species to London for getting them thoroughly tested. On testing. that occasion I did not send only small specimens, but whole. logs, with the request that also a practical test for which large pieces are required should be made in addition to the scientific test.
Such tests take some, time, as the wood has to be
properly seasoned, and also for other reasons. The result is not yet known and will have to be published later. A list
of these fourteen logs is given in the Appendix.
Strange local Althoughi the main poutand article of trade of this ideas asprdc
regards the country is wood, strange ideas prevail here as regards the teost.go e testing of new woods. Some people do not realise that it
is in the nature of such a commodity as timber that its testing, particularly of its lasting qualities, must take a considerable time, if you wish to make sure that you get quite reliable data. Some expected that the testing could be done as quickly as may be possible perhaps in the case of testing a new brand of chocolates or of whisky, and others seriously thought that a wood technologist would be able, to quote a fairly reliable figure for the market value of a
new wood just by looking at it.
Patience and Such ideas of others would not be worth mentioning here consistent
foalowing up if they had not also been shared by some men of influence, of results are n fte eentlklyt raea topeeo
essential. adi hywr o ieyt raea topeeo
impatience and prejudice against a. new line of development, where patient preliminary preparation and then consistent and gradual development on a safe basis are. essential for
making success sure.
Selection of A h twl e' ~ rmabsns
woods for Attebeginning itwl eimportcantermabsns
starting new point of view to concentrate all efforts to those useful species trade, which are found in great quantities.
It must be admitted that it would probably he much
easier to get orders for some of the beautiful but rare cabinet woods such as Palomulata or Ziricote; but large orders for such rare woods could not be carried out, and such a small trade as might be carried on in such woods cannot deserve first consideration when there is hope to establish a more than one thousand times greater trade in other useful woods,
which could be supplied in quantities.
It is for this reason that on all my tours through the
British Honduras forests I tried to get sonc idea of the available quantities of several of the more important species.
It is, of course, not easy to form an opinion of the available quantity of any selected species in a mixed forest of more than 200 species, and within the relatively short time which was at my disposal. Not more than a very rough
estimate within wide limits can therefore be expected.
List of useful The names of those new woods which appear to be most trees, important from this point of view may be seen from the list
below; this list, however, must not be considered to be
complete or final.
Name of Tree. Quantity. Quality.
Sapodilla (Achras sp.) Same as mahogany, or more ........ ... Hard wood, very durable in the ground and
on exposure, large size.
Nargusta ........ .... .... .... ... Nearly the same as mahogany .... ... Good for boards, indoor and outdoor, planks
on bridges, etc., easy to work, large size.
Honduras Walnut Wood (Black Poison-wood) Fairly large quantities in certain localities... Hard wood, beautiful cabinet wood (the wood
(Anacardiaema, possibly Mauria). is not poisonous), large size.
Santa Maria (Calophyllum Calaba) .... ... Fairly large quantities in certain localities... Good for heavy planks, masts and beams, lasting, sometimes well figured like mahogany, large size.
Red Yemeri ... ... ... ... ... Fairly large quantities in certain localities Fairly light, good for boards, not hard, easy
near the coast, to work, lasts fairly well also in boats,
Banak (Myristica sp.) ... ... ... ... Fairly large quantities in the south of te Soft wood, easy to work, might do for shingles
Colony. as it splits well, also for boards and furniture; nicely figured; stems of large size,
good shape and free of knots.
Redwood ... ... ... ... ... Fair quantities in certain localities, scattered Used for posts, lasts well in the ground, fair
over the whole Colony. size ; worth trying for otheg purposes.
Name of Tree. Quantity. Quality.
Bullet Tree (Terminalia Buceras) ... ... Fairly great numbers near rivers on moist Very hard, lasting, good posts.
soil, more in the north of the Colony.
Ironwood (Laplacea hwmatoxylon) ... ... Fair quantity in certain localities ... ... Very hard, lasting, large size.
Honduras Cypress (tree quite different from In patches in the south of the Colony, not Excellent wood for ships, lasting; fair size,
N. American Cypress) (Podocarpus coria- very plentiful, good shape.
Waika Chewstiek (Symphonia globulifera ?)... Scattered in the south of the Colony (beau- Good for keels of ships; large size and good tiful tree when in flower). shape like Banak.
Balsawoods (Ochroma sp., Belotia sp., Schizo- In patches, not very numerous, but can be Exceptionally light woods and good insulalobium sp., Hibiscus sp.). grown very quickly, in 5 years about 4 ft. ting material.
to 5 ft. girth at chest height, and about
50 ft. high.
Tubroos (Enterolobium cyclocarpum)... ... Scattered also on open land near rivers, more Best wood for dugouts, soft, easy to work, in the north, very durable in boats; nicely figured, large
Billy Webb (Sweetia panamensis) ... ... Fairly common, scattered, much smaller in Hard wood, good for trucks, carts, wheels,
number than mahogany. tool handles; fair size.
Cabbage Bark (Andira sp., and Sapindus sp.) Do. Do.
Quite a number of very useful trees have not been Other useful woods r require
included in the above list, because their stock is small and help and requires even protection for a little while until their number protection eefore they
is increased, can be felled
One of these woods is Salmwood," which is very useful for many purposes; it is light and at the same time lasting and almost as good as the local cypress for shipbuilding.
Such exceptionally useful and not numerous woods might be helped in their growth and reproduction, when improvements are made in mahogany forests. Also the
Breadnut and Ramoon trees, which yield good fodder for cattle, and also wild growing fruit trees (cacao, etc.) and, perhaps, also the wild growing Balsam wood, should receive the same attention.
There can be but little doubt, from what has been said so far in this chapter about secondary trees, that these hitherto neglected woods are certainly worth trying to find some good use for them and to establish a market for them.
To their own potential value which may be realised can Double gain from utilizing
now be added another great advantage which would arise secondary from their utilization, namely, their removal would indirectly woods. improve the growth and reproduction of mahogany, as can easily be imagined from what has been said already further, above with regard to improvements in mahogany forests.
For, many large trees of these secondary species hinder the growth of mahogany trees by keeping the latter suppressed. If we manage now to find good use for some of these secondary species, we shall have the double advantage, of getting revenue for them and in addition to that improvements of the main species-nahogany-which would cost nothing.
On the other hand, if we do not take the trouble of find- The other ing some use for these secondary species, we shall have the alternative. expense of destroying many of them in favour of mahogany, on those selected areas on which it will be found advisable to improve the growth and reproduction of mahogany.
There is no middle line between these two alternatives.
Mahogany deserves first consideration, and the girdling of interfering secondary species (with the exception of Rosewood, Female Sapodilla, Breadnut tree, Ramoon,
Palmaletto, wild fruit trees, and, perhaps, a few others) cannot be avoided, and should not be delayed.
It may be expected that many of the heavv sub- Many heavy
- woods float
sidiary species, as we may call them now, will float a year after girdling.
or so after girdling, as is the case with Teak in Burma and Siam, which is usually girdled long before felling for this
Of the thirty different small samples of local woods,
including many heavy ones, which Mr. Woods (Secretary of the British Hlonduras Ch~mber of Commerce and the editor of the "Clarion ") got prepared some little while ago for the Chamber of Commerce, only four sink in the water, whilst the other twenty-six float! Considering that these samples are well seasoned, and that their size is very small, this test can, of course, not be taken as nearly sufficient for drawing final conclusions for floating wood on a big scale. But, nevertheless, it is interesting to know
this as a first indication of what may be possible.
Amongst the floating samples are such apparently
heavy woods as Billy Webb, Cabbage Bark, Honduras Walnut wood, Bullet tree, Pine, Santa Maria, and seasoned
Nargusta appears to be even lighter than mahogany.
Local initia- Mr. Woods' commendable effort to get some of the local advertising timbers better known, and to get a trade started in them, secondary was made quite independently from my work, and I believe, woods., quite of his own accord.
It is pleasing for a Forester to know that for this uphill
task there is already. a beginning of local support, which is
all the more valuable as it originated independently.
But it appears that the advisability of getting the subsidiary species utilized is at present only understood by a few, and it is hoped that this Report, and particularly this chapter, may help to make the situation quite clear to everybody interested in the development of the main industry of
msakeing Some think, in a rather superficial way, that the cost
secondary of marketing subsidiary species would be about the same as,
wod. or, in the case of very hexyy woods, even greater, than that
of mahogany, and that it is, therefore, not worth while to touch them unless the same price is obtainable for them as
There are, however, a few errors in this calculation,
reasonable though it may appear at first sight from a business
point of view, namely:(1) If the same "truck passes, camps, etc., are used which are in use for mahogany, there will be no capital expenditure on this item f or the subsidiary
(2) The haulage will be much shorter and therefore cheaper than in the case of mahogany, because the subsidiary species are obtainable much closer to the river
(3) The question of weight and possibility of floating
after girdling has been discussed.
(4) There is no reason why some of these woods
should not fetch a price that exceeds such cost of extraction, as remains after deducting items (1) and (2), particularly if this remaining cost is brought down to
a more normal level by systematic exploitation.
It is a circulus vitiosus to say because we have no A circulus proper roads and railways we must neglect the subsidiary vitiosus." species." It is just the other way round: By making the best possible use of the subsidiary species we get an additional help for improving the mahogany forests, and for building and maintaining roads and simple logging railways.
Quite naturally at the start they have to be taken only select only from the most favourable places, whence the cost is lowest. sob paces. Nobody is expected to work at a loss, except, perhaps, in the secondary case of small initial experiments such as have to be risked woods. in every big business. But to neglect them altogether on principle would be very wrong and against the interests of the country and of the owners of the forests.
Two possible markets come into consideration for utiliz- Two possible ing these woods, namely, the local market and the exportmarkets. market. To establish an export market for new woods on (') Export
a fair scale takes some time. But the first step is already made, the most suitable woods have been sifted out and are being properly tested, and a group of timber merchants abroad are interested in the result of these tests.
As regards the establishment of a local market for local (b) Local woods in the place of imported wood, a positive start was market.
made several months ago as the result of a letter which I had addressed on this subject to Government.
The P'ublic Works Department has now been asked to use local wood, and also private orders to local sawmills are increasing. The capacity of the sawmills is still too small for supplying the whole Colony with local material; but plans for increasing their capacity are under consideration. When they are able to meet the demand of the whole Colony, some little protection of the local industry against competition by import will be advisable.
Later, when this local sawmilling is properly organised, it will be relatively easy to switch on an import trade on relatively short notice and under more favourable conditions than would be possible now. The local sawmilling will also produce better knowledge of the qualities of the various local woods, which are all too little known to most people.
There is an additional advantage in establishing such a
local industry, namely, it will be a great help in time of unemployment of labourers such as this country may have to face very soon, when the labour contracts of this year expire. For in the case of supplying the country with local wood, the greater part of the money which is at present sent abroad for imported timber, will go into the pockets of local labourers and keep them employed instead of having them
Tlbs iterests Asrurstemrhnswodaatpsnti
of the im Asrgrstemrhnswoda0tpeetr m
porters of ported woods, also their interests have to be considered, as
wo. it is not desirable to hurt anybody. It can be arranged quite
welthat it will not make much difference to them whether
they store and sell imported or local wood, and the local sawmillers will probably be only too glad to, hand their
boards over to them wholesale for storing and seasoning. The main When all these various points as regards local sawobject of
establishing a milling are considered, the main object of this proposal insusdir should not be lost sight of, namely, that the establishment species. of a local market for local woods will be a great help and
save great expenditure in developing the forests, and that it must also be a necessary preliminary step for establishing
gradually an export trade in these woods.
It may possibly also become the nucleus of a new great
industry; however, that is for later consideration.
Use lhrewood It is not only in the case of timber, but also in the case for loggn
railways.~ of fuel that the use of local woods deserves every encouragemient, apart from considerations of political economy. It helps indirectly to improve timber forests, if such waste wood as cannot be used as timber is removed and used as firewood.
Local firewood (the wood of various subsidiary species of a mahogany forest) is used as fuel in the heavy locomotive of the llillbank logging railway and has proved to be very satisfactory and cheap. The same could have been done with regard to the Stanin Creek Railway. It was mentioned previously in this Report that good firewood can be used successfully in railways on a big scale and that this is the case in the Federated Malay States. For future logging railways only firewood should be taken into consideration.
It will answer the purpose, be cheap, and its removal from the mahogany forest will indirectly improve the latter. If it is done on a big scale it has to be properly organised, as is
(lone in the Malay States.
Only general For the purpose of this Report only the conclusions of basic facts
and practical an economic nature as regards the subsidiary species have conclusions been given above as briefly as possible, whilst further details, given in this
,chapter. if desired, may be gathered from Appendix.
SECTION 8 OF PART III.
Of the minor forest produce it will be sufficient to mention here only the more important ones.
The Castilloa rubber tree (castilloa elastica) grows wild in the mahogany forest. Also cacao and vanilla grow wild. and are indigenous, but not plentiful from a commercial point of view.
In some places (in the Stann Creek and Manatee Silk grass. Valleys, for instance) there is a wild growing silk grass (Bromelia sp.) of some commercial value. This silk grass grows in half shade under forest trees in certain areas, and it appears that, with a little silvicultural help, both the growth and reproduction of silk grass, as well as that of selected useful trees, could be improved at the same time and at a small cost. The eventual result would be a forest consisting only of valuable trees with a complete carpet of silk grass undergrowth beneath them.
Also the sisal hemp, or henequin (agave ixtli) grows here other wild. Lianes or tie-ties are numerous; many of them products. are used for ropes in the bush. One of these tie-ties has been identified by Morris as paullinia sorbilis, the pounded seeds of which yield the Guarana bread of Brazil.
There is a climbing palm, the rattan cane Desmonous," called here basket tie-tie." This rattan cane is useful for many local purposes, but it could not compete in the open market with the better rattan canes of the Malay forests. Some of the latter might be introduced here.
The nuts of the Cohune Palm (attalea cohune) yield a Cohune nuts; very good oil which is used locally. The technical difficulties present possibilities
of extracting the oil mechanically on a big scale have been overovercome, but the cost of collecting the nuts on a big scale estimated. is prohibitive. If this latter question, which is relatively simple in comparison with the mechanical problems of extracting the oil, had been examined first, there would have been less disappointment and loss of money in utilizing cohune nuts. Greatly exaggerated hopes have been set upon the possibilities of a cohune oil industry. If, in addition to the oil, valuable by-products could be manufactured,
a problem which has to be solved at first by chemists, there might be some prospects for the future. But at present
it would certainly be wrong policy to sacrifice mahogany forests for cohune propositions. For genuine experiments, there are enough cohune palms on open grazing ground which yield many more nuts than the cohune palms in the
Charcoal. The oak in the pine forests, the mangrove trees, and
various hardwoods of the mahogany forest, make good
Grass in pine Grass as a by-product in the pine forests for cattle forests. grazing during certain times of the year has been mentioned
Cuba bast. The moho tree yields the Cuba bast of commerce.
gums and Numerous trees yield gums and resins of still unknown
resins, value. There is still a wide field for further investigations.
Barks. Also, the barks of various trees may contain valuable
ingredients; some of them appear to be useful to tanning material; others are used by the natives for making bush
Balsam tree. There is a wild growing Balsam tree, quite likely the
same species which yields the staple article of another State of Central America, of the Republic of San Salvador. I
have been unable to get good botanical material of this tree for identification, and further investigations are required.
This industry might possibly be introduced in British
Fustic. The wood of Fustic (clorophora tinctoria) contains a
valuable yellow dye; billets and short logs have been exported
in small quantities only.
Pimento. Pimento (eugenia pimenta) grows wild in the mahogany
forests in small patches all over the Colony. Its seeds
give the allspice of commerce, and its leaves are used locally for making tea, and, according to Hooper, also for making
Present Whilst all these numerous forest by-products are
of by-products worth knowing, and deserve further observation and technivery small. cal investigation, their market value does not amount to
much at present as they are too little known.
There is no need, therefore, to deal with them at length
in this Report; that may be done on another occasion.
Wild game. Wild game is still plentiful in the more remote fArests.
SECTION 9 OF PART III.
CONCLUDING REMARKS ON THE WHOLE OF PART III.
Those readers of this Part III. who know from experience some of the difficulties which, though outside the proper province of Forestry, will be interlaced with it in this country, may have added in their minds occasionally an if or a but to the various suggestions and possibilities which are explained in this Part III.
The present Report would, therefore, be incomplete if also these outside difficulties were not discussed, as is done in the next Part IV., General Conditions of the Country in Relation to Forestry."
GENERAL CONDITIONS OF THE
COUNTRY IN RELATION TO FORESTRY.
This part IV. is sub-divided as follows:PAGE.
1. Ownership of Forests ... ... 82
2. Land Policy and Forest Reserves ... 84
3. Existing means of Transport ... ... 87
4. Relation of Forestry to Agriculture and
Mining Labour ... ... ... ... 100
5. Legislation and Administration ...
6. Possibility of Financing a Forest Scheme 103
OWNERSHIP OF FORESTS.
Total area of Of the total area of the Col9ny of about 5,600,000 acres, Crown forests
and of private there are about 3,220,000 acres Crown land and 2,280,000 forests. acres private land.
Only a relatively small part of the area of the Colony
is not covered by forest of some sort. The greater part of the more accessible forest lands (i.e., accessible under the present wild conditions) are in the hands of private individuals or companies.
This is rather an unusual state of affairs, for in most
other colonies land is not alienated except under the obligation that it must be cultivated to some extent, and, therefore, in most other countries the greater part of the forests remains
in the hands of the Crown.
Development In the general interest of the country more systematic
forests. development of both, the private forests as well as of the
Crown forests, is desirable. It is, therefore, hoped that some of the facts mentioned in this Report may also be of interest to the owners of private forest estates, and may induce one or the other'of them to pay a little attention to
the development of at least selected parts of their forests.
There is little doubt that some of the owners of large
private forests would have been quite glad in the past, in their own interest, to put their forests into a better condition, if technical advice had been available. The real meaning of scientific forestry and its possibilities has, however, been
quite unknown here.
The size of many of the private forest estates is enor- Available mous, and in most cases quite out of proportion to the means frvdelp available for developing them. There are, however, also a few inent not in proportion to
fortunate exceptions. Nearly all the private owners of size of private forests got their forest lands at a very low price, forest estates.
Some of them got it so cheaply that the sale of the wild growing forest products alone (wood, chicle, etc.) was sufficient to make the purchase of such land remunerative. In other cases such cheap land was bought on speculation ini the hope that some lucky incident, such as the construction of a public road or railway (which is expected to come sooner or later), or private development on an adjoining estate would raise the value of the land, In most cases the above mentioned two motives for buying large areas of cheap land were probably combined, namely, utilization of wild growing forest products and speculation. There are also instances of large forest estates having been in the bands of certain families for generations by inheritance from the early settlers.
The object of explaining this is to show that many of Forest staff the landlords who have got large areas under the above prvtefrs mentioned conditions canno t be expected to have the means estates. for developing their land and for employing a trained forest staW of their own, although many estates would be large enough to have their own special staff. From the great interest, however, which several of the owners of forest estates have taken in my work here, it is practically certain that some of them will start to develop at least selected parts of their forests in proportion to their available means, provided they can obtain technical assistance from a Governmient Forest Department, at intervals, when occasion arises.
If owners of private estates are given no facilities for obtaining technical advice on forest development, their forests will not only remain fairly unproductive in the future, but more than that, they will be directly a great obstacle to the opening up of the country. It is, for instance, desirable for road and railway construction to have as little unproductive mileage as possible.
Although the Crown forests are on the whole at present Crown forests. less accessible than many of the private forests, they are the main asset of the State and their potential value is very great.
Under proper management a net revenue, which would be many times greater than now, could be obtained from them; the question as to how that can be achieved has bcen explained in the previous Part III.
SECTION 2 OF PART IV.
LAND POLICY AND FORE STRE SERVES.
Hand in hand with a far reaching forest policy should
go a far reaching land policy.
Forest Those forest areas on which it will be decided to improve
reserves. the forests must be reserved as "Forest Reserves as is
done in other countries. This is necessary, because the time between sowing and harvesting is a long one in the case of growing forest trees, and, therefore, such improvements as aim at an increased stock of good trees in the more distant future, can only be recommended on areas which are finally reserved for forestry. It has been stated previously in this Report (in connection with pine forests) that a Forest Ordinance will be required, when a Forest Department is established. That Forest Ordinance will also have to contain the necessary legal provisions for establishing and protecting
The selection of suitable areas for this purpose will be
one of the first duties of the Conservator of Forests and his
Land policy As regards the land policy generally there has been a generally, tendency in the past to alienate land all too freely without
insisting on development.
Copareoln The minimum sale price is now fixed by the Rules of ith stamp. 8th M\ay, 1920, for Crown lands at $3.50 per acre, of which agaue o 2.0 is considered to be the price of the land and the
remaining $1.50 to be for the cost of survey. Lower prices were asked before. With this price may be compared the stumpage value of a single mature mahogany or cedar tree which is $6.00 on Crown land, and usually more than that
is collected by private owners on private land.
The iinestion It has been easy in the past to get land for agricultural ef alienating forests, purposes and then to hold it undeveloped as forest. There
is no object in giving forests to private individuals to hold them as forests, since it is in the nature of forestry that, unlike agriculture, it is best managed directly by an institution of a much longer life than individuals have, and on farreaching technical plans, which go beyond the immediate requirements of individuals and very often also beyond their
management As in the case of railway management, large organisaby large n tions, and not scattered enterprise on a small scale, give the organisation
gives best best results also in forestry: For these reasons forests foety remain best in the hands of Government or other large and
permanent institutions under their direct management by a trained staff. Experience in countries with old established Forest Departments shows that by far the best yield from forests is obtained in this way.
In order to make it sure in the future that newly alien- Prcuto ated land will actually be used for the purposes for which it ting land in is alienated, two precautions are recommended here: the future.
(1) If agricultural cultivation is desired, the land
should not be alienated from the very beginning, but leased at first until the greater part of it is actually cultivated to the satisfaction of Government.
(2) As no charge is made for the value of the forest
which may stand on such land, the usual royalty, the same as on Crown land, should be collected on such forest produce as is actually removed from such newly alienated land, no charge being made for forest products destroyed in the process of developing the land agriculturally. This is done in the Federated Malay States; I have had to deal there with many cases of this kind and have never met a single man who did not
consider this fair.
This second rule would, of course, not apply to the already existing private forests.
In the past when land was alienated, very often a much' Make, beat greater value of wood of good trees which could have been of wood on saved has been destroyed than the whole purchase price for aleenated the land amounted to. I could quote instances which I have arclua seen myself; thus one, on an easily accessible area of Crown of destroying land near the Botanic Station, where mahogany trees of it. fair size, which might have been utilised at first, were burnt for making room for a little temporary plantation, which latter is abandoned now. In order to prevent such waste of valuable material, every application for Crown land should be referred to the Head Office of the Forest Department to enable the Forestry Officer to induce timber cutters in time to remove such wood before it is destroyed. Such reference to the Forest Office in the case of alienating land is also desirable to enable the Forestry Officer to secure outlets from forest reserves to the nearest road or railway or river, and also suitable areas for timber yards, which, if not secured in time, may have to be bought back later at a high price.
Generally speaking, every effort should be made by the vuizng
Forest Department to get those forest products utilised production b future
which grow on land which is likely to become agricultural agricultural land in the future. If this is done it will have a threefold land the Forest
(1) Material which might otherwise be destroyed is indirectly
made good use of. agiulturists,
(2) The land gets partly cleared and thus expenditure is saved to the agriculturist who will get the land.
(3) B # taking out the forest products the land is made more accessible, although perhaps only in a very rough way, and this also will be to the benefit of the
agriculturist who comes afterwards.
The sale price Hitherto it has been the firm belief of many people of ladIso influence in this Colony that it is the right policy "to
secondary attract capitalists from outside by selling Crown land to
acoprd them at a very low price. This policy would be right, if
usinti the condition were added and enforced that such cheap land that gose that be developed, or, to express it in a more concrete way, produced in ha a reasonable quantity of marketable goods (= freight quniis for railways) must be produced on such land. It is
the amount of actual production, and not the capital realised for the sale of land, which will help to open the country. This policy of selling land cheaply is therefore entirely wrong and directly retards the progress of the country more than anything else, if the condition that it must be developed is not made or not enforced. F or in this latter case the temptation must be very great even to bon6 fide settlers to hold such cheap land rather on speculation (after selling the forest products), instead of going through all the trouble of developing it. The present state
of land tenur:3 proves that sufficiently.
A recent To some readers of this Report who do not know the
case, local conditions, it may appear very superfluous that this
should be explained here at all. But a case of an application for a large area of mahogany land which was referred to me for expressing my opinion, made it clear to me that this question of land policy cannot he emphasized too much.
Loss of I oecsslnonr aelmtdterefrst
royalty on teI oecsslnonr aelmtdterefrst
forst ro. theissue of permits to contractors to take forest products duenting (timber, chicle, et.,from their land. It has, of course, forests, never been the intention of Government just to hand over
permanently the right of collecting some sort of royalty on forest products to private individuals by alienating forest land to them, but this has been the practical result in several cases of alienating forest land. The purchaser can hardly he blamed for using the opportunity of thus getting indirectly a right of issuing to others some sort of forest
licences at a good profit.
If such forest land had been retained as Crown land, the
royalty on forest products could just as well have been collected directly by Government and would surely have produced more revenue in the aggregate than the sale price for the land, including the small annual land tax of only
one and a half cents an acre. Besides, such forest land could now be developed directly under a forest scheme, so as to produce the maximum of freight obtaiable from such land, whilst the difficulties of inducing some of the private owners of forest land to develop their lands are incomparably greater.
SIt is unpleasant to have to criticise what has been done Explanation in the past in this respect, but if it is in the interest of the fo ore future progress of the country, it is right to draw attention to found in early history and In
weak points and to try to improve them, old traditions
It should be understood that a good deal that was done o ooy in the past had its origin in the early history and in old traditions of this Colony, and if that could be fully explained here, not much more could be said against it than that it should be improved now.
The Agricultural Adviser, Mr. W. R. Dunlop, with whom I discussed at length the question of the future land policy, agreed with me and expressed a similar view in his Report, though, quite naturally, only from an agricultural point of view.
Thus far only the land policy with regard to the still Ln oi
existing Crown land has been discussed, and just one short to0 Private remark as regards private lands may be added here. lns
Some of the future forest reserves have no outlet to the outlets from forest reserve
nearest river, etc., for the transport of wood and other forest have to be products. Also small areas for timber yards on landing t'me'hg places and on other suitable places will be required later, private land. For this reason it will be advisable to use favourable opportunities of buying in time such strips of private lands as may serve the above mentioned purpose. There is no hurry in doing that, but it is well to be on the look-out and to think of alternatives where the price appears to be above the average.
Rights of way through private lands, where it is necessary, are provided by law, but direct ownership of the land on which a road or logging railway is to be built is preferable to a mere right of way.
SECTION 8 OF PART IV.
EXISTING MEANS OF TRANSPORT.
The question of transport is always an important one when the utilisation of forests is under consideration, because timber is such a heavy and bulky material to move about.
Certain details as regards the transport of timber have been given already on former occasions in this Report, namely, when the difficulties and high cost of extract in
mahogany from the forests were discussed, and then again when the possibilities were explained of getting the pine forests made accessible by roads and logging railways at the
expense of concessionaires.
Broad view, In this present Section it is proposed to take a broad view trnsot of the future general transport policy of the Colony as a problem, whole.
The Right Hon. Winston S. Churchill, Secretary of
State for the Colonies, said in a recent speech (of 16th June, 1921) with regard to the development of Crown Colonies;
-You cannot expect any of these countries to develop until
they have been given the essential fundamental apparatus which they must have-posts, railways, roads, and
ExistingThus far only one relatively small valley of British
railway. Honduras has been made accessible by a railway of about
25 miles in length, i.e., the Stann Creek Valley.
None of the numerous other valleys of the country have
railways, and, with a very small exception, also no, proper
roads for wheel traffic.
Quality of For many, the map of British Honduras may require
roads, an epatinin this respect, inasmuch as the numerous
public roads which are shown on it are mostly not nmuch more than some sort of muddy cow trail, or a sort of wild elephant track, where the water collects first. Man and beast have.
usually to move slowly in single file along such -roads,"and are glad to have them, as they are certainly better than nothing in such a country. Only near the town of Corozal in the north is there a relatively small mileage of proper roads, and another good metalledf road of about one mile or so in length leads from the capital, Belize, to the cemetery.
Not even the main valley of the country, i.e., the valley
of the Belize River, has been opened by proper roads or
Belize-Cayo The favourite and much discussed railway proposal of railway
proposal. this country is a line from the capital and port of export,
Belize, westward to the town of Cayo, and thence further west into the Peten District of Guatemnala. This line would open two valleys at the same time, namely, the Belize River valley and the Sibun valley, and would tap a large
area of mahogany forest.
No0 real There would be no particular technical difficulties in condifclis structing that line. The land and the natural gradients are
fairly easy, and also the bridge which would be required near Mount Hope over the Belize River would not be very
difficult to build.
The real difficulties are of a different nature, which, it One thirdof appears, have hitherto not been fully realised. Thc natural length is wealth of this country, i.e., the fertility of ihe soil on large mileage. areas, and the climate, which is favourable to luxuriant growth, is great there is no doubt. But in spite of that, it seem-s that many people here have a somewhat~ exaggerated idea of the natural wealth of this country, and are inclined to overlook the less productive areas which are also great in extent. Under the present conditions as much as one-third of the proposed line from Belize to Cayo would be what may be called unproductive mileage, and under these circumstances the remaining two-thirds alone would have to produce all the freight which is required to make this line remunerative.
The unproductive section is at the beginning, near Belize, namely:
Close to Belize, about 5 to. 6 miles through a bad swamp, which probably will always remain unproductive, and thence about 20 to 25 miles through poor pine forest land en which the greater part of the forest has been ruined by continued and unchecked destruction by fire.
This latter section could be made productive within Large section about 15 to 25 years, if that pine forest were brought under tiemieg proper fire protection, which latter would not be expensive. coul made
An annual freight of about 50,000 tons of gcod pine wood rune ors could be produced within 3 miles of the railway line. Thus that pine forest could be made a great help for the railway instead of being, an unproductive obstacle as it is now.
No inatter -who builds that railway, whether the Government or a private company, the production ,f freight from that pine forest will be an important factor when the financing is considered. And that Belize-Cavo line will certainly be built sooner or later. Therefore, the sooner this forest is brought into good shape the better.
But supposing the financing of that line should be con- Logging sidered altogether impossible, in that case a well stocked possible if pine forest would still be worth its own simple logging rail- inancing of way, which, according to a far-reaching transport policy, impossible. could be connected further inland with a similar logging railway for mahogany, until eventually Cayo were reached by little bits, and practically without any direct cost to Government. The timber concessionaires who would have to build such logging railways at their own expense, as discussed in a previous chapter, would, of course, have to be given concessions for long periods.
There are at present two logging railways in the country somewhere inland, one 8 miles long, the other 10 miles. The linking together of about eight such logging railways
would be sufficient to connect Belize with Cayo, and, though the trains on such lines would have to move slowly, at a pace of probably 10 miles an hour, this would be a very great improvement on the present conditions. The line could then be improved by degrees in proportion to the available and probably increasing freight. Near Mount Hope the whole traffic from the extensive mahogany operations of the largest private estate, the Belize Estate and Produce Company, Limited, could be led into the Cayo-Belize line by their own logging railway, which would become a branch line of the Belize-Cayo line, and near Cayo it might be posible to make a connection with the other logging railway, that of the Vaca Fells Company. Other valleys could be
opened in a similar way.
GeneralItwudbwelthaearuhgnrlriwypnfo railway plan thItwudbwelthaearuhgnrlriwypnfo for the whole tewhole country with details to be thought out later. country. However wrong such general plans may be found to be in
the more distant future (when they may be modified) they have that one advantage, as proved in Forestry, that every later and otherwise isolated action has to be considered as a part of a comprehensive plan in which numerous little bits will eventually have to fit together, and give at the end great results in addition to the temporary and local uses for which each bit was meant originally. The general plan must, of course, be elastic and has to be modified from time to time.
At present the natural development of a net of railways
would appear to be:
(a) Belize-Cayo line.
(b) Independent railways with East-West direction in the various valleys from the river mouths to the foot
of the main range of hills.
(c) Later, a line along the foot of the hills (SouthNorth direction) which would connect the inland termini of the lines of (b) of the various valleys. This SouthNorth line would then become a main line. It would cross the rivers near the hills where they are narrow and where the river banks are high so as to make bridging
The other main line would be the Belize-Cayo line ( (a)
above), which would connect with the North- South line.
The first 12 miles of the Stann Creek railway would fit
in very well into such a net of railways and even become
part of the South-North main line.
It will be fair policy to concentrate the efforts for railway development (and therefore also for the development of Crown forests) to those parts of the country where an
adequate amount of freight is produced by private landowners, either by silvicultural (Forestry) or agricultural activity. Where inactivity is due to lack of means, an up-to-date credit system would help.
In countries without roads and railways, the waterways, water as means of communication, are of first importance-untiltrnpot better means of transport are available.
In this sense the history of Forest Development of other countries of equally good waterways as British Honduras has, is bound to repeat itself here.
It is true and well enough known that water transport for heavy freight on first-class waterways which are navigated by large vessels is cheaper per mile than any other transport.
Some of the British Honduras waterways are fairly The British good, but the majority of them do certainly not belong to rivers. the best class of waterways, and on many of them it is even difficult to float single logs down river without loss or damage. Even on the main river for floating mahogany, i.e., the Belize River, the logs have to be floated singly the greater part of the way on account of waterfalls, and many of those logs which come from far up river get damaged and stranded and some of them get lost. To collect stranded logs and put them back again into the water costs time and money, and occasionally they get stuck for a whole year, until the next flood carries them away; they are then deteriorated and have to be sold below the normal price.
In most cases the timber can only be floated down river when the river is in flood, and much depends on a good flood, which may not occur more than once a year.
With certain rivers the risk is very great of not getting a sufficient flood every year. Nearly all the timber in the Monkey River got stuck last year, and the unfortunate contractors suffered a great financial loss.
The cost of river transport under the above-mentioned Cost.o"
circumstances varies greatly, quite naturally. The lowest mahogany. figure I have been given, and which is very satisfactory indeed, is $1.00 per 1,000 board feet; and the highest, including damage and loss, as much as $30.00 per 1,000 ft. board M., which is enormous. And from what I have seen myself, I do not doubt that also this high figure is sometimes reached.
In the majority of cases, but not in every instance, Could railway transport by rail could compete successfully wit h the river compete? transport of mahogany at normal rates of freight, and in some cases even at relatively high rates of freight, because the distance from the interior of the country to the coast. is