MUCH OF OUR rural poverty is within forest regions with large areas of poor soils. Here, vanishing forest resources and forest industries leave farm people and rural communities stranded, minus the employment in the forest and the income from the forest so much needed to supplement the meager returns from their cultivated crops.
Wretched living conditions mean abject people. With nothing to defend and morale gone, no people could fight long against an invading enemy.
Battles on the economic front never cease; they are more devastating during war, to be sure, but relentless even during peace. So a country should never be caught without a full measure of the services and products supplied from forest lands.
If forests and their products should vanish, so would tables, floors, beds, newspapers, books, boxes, electric lines, railroads, and thousands of other necessities, along with millions of homes and millions of jobs.
Rain would muddy the water, fill the reservoirs with debris, ruin the hydroelectric plants, and bring flood damage the like of which we never saw before.
Between rains you would wonder what had become of the water supply.
But this can't happen here. It will not happen here. Somehow, sometime, this Nation will realize fully its dependence upon forests in both peace and war. It is already moving in the direction of forest conservation, dangerously slow to be sure, and the longer the delay the greater the cost. Eventually it will put its forest lands in order. It will make them produce abundantly and perpetually the necessities and jobs they now supply. And, too, it will develop from its forests new uses, new industries, new jobs, new services to mankind. Advancement by one short year of such a forest economy will pay for itself many thousandfold.