Preserving the Watershed Forests
The care and preservation of the watershed covering of forests is one of the matters which very intimately concerns the superintendent of water works, especially if the supply is a surface one or draws upon considerable territory for its source. This preservation includes many phases, and to be efficiently followed up the superintendent—or some individual delegated by him to perform the work— should have at least a working knowledge of the art of Forestry.
One of the most important branches of this work is the guarding of the forest territory from fire. This matter becomes a very vital responsibility during a season like the one just past, when, through lack of rain, the undergrowth has become dry and inflammable and the slightest spark may easily be fanned into a serious conflagration, involving much, if not all, of the watershed. The careless tresspasser, hunter or smoker who tosses away a match or cigarette, without first making sure that it has been extinguished, is the center of trouble and should, wherever possible be kept off of the shed entirely, or, if allowed within the territory, be impressed with the necessity for caution.
But, besides fire, there are other important matters to be considered in connection with the watershed. The proper cutting of the timber and the pruning and trimming of the trees is a matter requiring some expert knowledge. The guarding against tree diseases, blights, insects and parasites which prey upon the forests must be done intelligently. The planting of new growths to take the place of those cut out or destroyed presupposes a previous education in this work or disaster will follow, and the saplings will be lost.
In this week’s issue an expert on forestry gives some interesting reasons why the watershed should be covered with a forest growth under certain conditions. He also gives some important reasons why this growth is an advantage and how it works toward the preservation and assists in the purification of the water. His paper is worthy the attention of all superintendents whose water works rely on a watershed to furnish the supply.