IV.—Revenue derivable from State Forests.
This most interesting part of the whole question has, it seems, been altogether misunderstood in this colony. Semi-official statements relating to the forest revenue in Germany, had the effect of representing the amount of the said revenue as not being above a few shillings per acre, from which a large amount of expenditure had to be deducted. Upon the admitted value of that source of information, it was resolved, in the House of Representatives, a few years ago, that, “judging from the results attained in Germany, the conservation or regeneration of the indigenous forests in this colony would not pay.”
In the said statements the forest revenue, arising from the annual acreage of fellings, has been ascribed to the whole forest area, through an erroneous analogy between the productive value of high timber State forests and those of freehold property, but the dissimilarity in the respective conditions pertaining to each kind of property does not admit of comparison; besides which, the annual acreage being calculated on only a portion of the whole arboreal stock, it cannot be taken as the revenue or produce of the whole forest area. However, the essential point to be observed is the actual result or total amount of revenue derivable from State forests, when managed under such principles as are generally adopted in Europe. The item of the amount of expenditure involved in the management of those forests also requires consideration.
All State forests in Europe have been, and many are still, encumbered with forest rights and servitudes of feudal origin, the commutation of which, necessitates expenses generally included in the expenditure of the Forest Department; which, with other causes of expense, such as the preservation of game, the collection of the forest revenue, etc., etc., are in Germany also included in the departmental expenditure. In France, the Forest Department has nothing to do with the preservation of game, nor with financial matters; besides which all forest rights and servitudes have been redeemed, and the departmental expenditure is thus confined to the salaries of the staff and forest guards, and does not exceed five per cent. of the revenue; whilst in Germany, owing to causes just stated, the average forest expenditure in the German States hereafter named is above 30 per cent. On the other hand, as may be observed in the following tables, the gross returns from the annual sales of the standing timber have hitherto been less in France than in Germany, the
cause for such a difference being mainly that a systematic treatment of State forests had been adopted in Germany long before it was introduced into France, and that the revolution or age of maturity of forest trees having been fixed so high as 100 to 200 years, according to species, climate, soil, etc., forests in Germany yield at the present time a larger number of trees, arrived at maturity and full dimensions, than those of France, thereby affording larger money returns.