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Chittenden, Alfred K. (Alfred Knight), 1879-1930 / The taxation of forest lands in Wisconsin

Chittenden, Alfred K.; Irion, Harry
Introduction,   pp. [5]-9 PDF (1.3 MB)

Page 6

second cut. Without a fair system of taxation no private owner can
hold his cut-over lands and give them adequate fire protection in order
to get a second cut of timber. With a fair system of taxation owners
of timberland will be better able to protect their cut-over lands from
fire, and could, perhaps, afford to hold these cut-over lands for future
timber protection.
  A study of forest taxation has already been made in New Hamp-
shire, and the report has been published by the Forestry Commission
of that state in its biennial report for the years 1907-1908, but up
to the present time no such study has been made in the Lake states
While the general conclusions reached in New Hampshire may in a
way be applicable to other states and regions, they can not be applied
in toto. Local conditions and present methods of taxation, the rela-
tive area of forest land, the rate of growth of the forest, as well as
other considerations, must be taken into account.*
  Wisconsin stands fifth in the list of timber-producing states of the
Union. In 1907 it was fourth. In 1908 it ranked second in the pro-
duction of white pine. It is being rapidly drained of timber by lum-
bering, but timber removed in this way is converted into money and
brings about the development of the country. Very large areas in
Wisconsin, however, are being stripped of timber in another way-
by fire. In 1908 an area of 1,209,432 acres was burned over by 1,4305
forest fires. No small portion of this acreage was young-growth pine,
hemlock, spruce, and hardwoods, some of it nearing merchantable size,
while the proportion of mature timber burned was also large. It is
estimated that 499,495,791 board feet of merchantable timber were
destroyed, worth, at a conservative estimate, $2,996,975. The value of
the young growth destroyed by these forest fires in 1908 is estimated
at $6,047,060.
  Wisconsin is typical of the great region around the Lakes. The north-
ern part of the state is largely white pine land; south of this is found
a wide extent of hardwood land; and the southern portion of the
state ranks with the best agricultural land in the United States. A
study of forest taxation in Wisconsin, then, will be applicable to a wide
territory, and the conclusions herein reached may be applied to a ter-
ritory larger than the state alone.
  The study was confined largely to the northern part of the state.
The southern part is principally farming land, and the value of the
soil for farming is greater than it could possibly be for timber pro-
  * See Appendix, p. 70.

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