U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



Published in Circular 140 (1908) 29 p.


Many people in this country think that forestry had never been tried until the Government began to practice it upon the National Forests. Yet forestry is practiced by every civilized country in the world, except China and Turkey. It gets results which can be got in no other way, and which are necessary to the general welfare. Forestry is not a new thing. It was discussed two thousand years ago, and it has been studied and applied with increasing thoroughness ever since.

The principles of forestry are everywhere the same. They rest on natural laws, which are at work everywhere and all the time. It is simply a question of how best to apply these laws to fit local needs and conditions. No matter how widely countries may differ in size, climate, population, industry, or government, provided only they have forests, all of them must come to forestry some time as a matter of necessity.

The more advanced and' progressive countries arrive first and go farthest in forestry, as they do in other things. Indeed, we might almost take forestry as a yardstick with which to measure the height of a civilization. On the one hand, the nations which follow forestry most widely and systematically would be found to be the most enlightened nations. On the other hand, when we applied our yardstick to such countries as are without forestry, we could say with a good deal of assurance, by this test alone, "Here is a backward nation."