|Economics of forestry; a reference book for students of political economy and professional and lay students of forestry, by Bernhard E. Fernow|
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Economics of forestry; a reference book for students of political economy and professional and lay students of forestry, by Bernhard E. Fernow
In this volume it is proposed to treat of forests and forestry from the standpoint of political economy.
The statesman, the student of economics, as well as the layman who desires knowledge on these matters, is to find here such information as will enable him to form an intelligent view and a true estimate of the position which forests and forestry should occupy in our political household, or rather the position which the community and governments should take with reference to their forest resources; it is to furnish a trustworthy basis for formulating public policy. At the same time it is hoped that this presentation of the subject will be acceptable to the growing number of professional foresters, assisting them in an intelligent survey of their art from a point of view outside of that of the technicist.
Hitherto the questions arising in connection with the proper utilization of our forest resources and with forest preservation have, in the United States, been largely discussed in a popular way, mostly by amateurs and laymen, who were without a
knowledge of the technical side of the subject; the professional economists who, only incidentally and sporadically, refer to the question have also, at best, possessed only a reading knowledge of the natural history of the forest and of the forester's art. As a result of this insufficient knowledge, these writings are only too frequently characterized by one-sided arguments and a partisan attitude without sufficient basis in fact.
Nor is there, as far as the writer knows, any book in the English language which attempts a full and systematic discussion of the subject in the manner in which it is to be treated here. This book, then, is not intended as a popular discussion, but proposes to supply a lack in the professional literature of economics in the English language; in fact, even the Germans have with perhaps one exception not yet produced a publication exactly analogous, as may be learned from the annotated index to the literature given in the Appendix.
The main difference between the present volume and other existing books may be found in the fact that not only the things which directly interest the economist have been discussed, but also a more or less comprehensive exposition of the technical details of the forester's art is given, which permits the forming of a judgment as to the conditions and limitations under which this art, or how much of it, can or must be practised.
In discussing doubtful questions, the writer has endeavored to maintain a judicial spirit of inquiry, and to point out not only ideals, principles, and truths, but also practical limitations which prevent the attainment of the ideals.
In order not to encumber the text too much, an appendix of notes, tables, and references has been added, which will assist in verifying conclusions drawn and give direction to those who desire to study further.
To the unnamed friend who has kindly undertaken to revise the proof-sheets I desire to express my thanks.
Ithaca, November, 1902.