Washington Law Review


Presumably, to a lumberman, a manufacturer, a wage earner or an investor a stand of trees is just a given number of trees of various types, or, perhaps better, a given quantity in board feet of merchantable lumber, which can be profitably converted into money as and when proximity to market and market price permit. More broadly, to a conservationist, trees in various stages of growth are national assets capable of continuous reproduction and the source of a constant as well as an immediate supply of material for structural and other uses. These differences in approach aside, and leaving out of account the relation of forests to water supply and the value of trees in preventing soil erosion, it is obvious that timber is a consumable commodity. Yet, in contrast with coal, iron, oil and other mineral content of the soil, trees are a product and not a part of the soil; they occupy space, but their removal does not leave an emptiness for which no particular use has been discovered as is the case in mining operations; rather, when the timber is cut, the removal releases the soil for a further growth of timber, or for agriculture, or for building.

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