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Ames Forester

Article Title

Forestry and Democracy

Abstract

To many foresters the rate at which conservative forestry practices are being adopted by private forest landowners must seem slow indeed. It is a slowness resulting from one of the false concepts o£ the fundamentals of a democracy; namely, that a landowner, because he owns land, per se, may insist on the right to do with it as he sees fit even if such actions may in the long run be detrimental to the welfare of his neighbors and himself. In view of the past application of this principle, many o£ you have had reason to doubt the probability of accomplishing results adequate to insure the security of the forest resource through slow and ponderous democratic procedures which are based upon education and voluntary cooperation. Cooperation, however, has a fundamental and very necessary place in the development and success of a democracy. It implies that those who are affected, either beneficially or otherwise, shall work together for the greatest good of all. In forestry, cooperation should be (I do not say is) all of this: national, state, local, and private agencies and landowners cooperating for the common good on a common front which will advance the objectives of all, through channels of procedure which are mutually agreeable. Ordinarily, there is little difference of opinion concerning the goal to be reached. Difficulties usually arise as to the methods to be used in achieving that goal. Whether the goal of sustained-yield forestry in this country may be reached without stringent regulation has not yet been determined. That this goal has not yet been reached by cooperation cannot be open to serious question, although some progress is being made.

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