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Chestnut in Tennessee

Chestnut in Tennessee

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Excerpt from Chestnut in Tennessee: Extract From Bullettin No; 10, Forest Studies in Tennessee

Chestnut, because of the extensive and rapidly increasing use of its wood as a source of tanning material, has become one of the most important forest trees of Tennessee. There are now seven tannic extract plants in operation within the State, and all use chestnut wood and bark, though some use in addition, the wood or bark of chestnut oak. To supply these plants more than 50,000 cords of wood are cut yearly in Tennessee with a value of about $187,500 at the shipping points. In addition to the extensive use of the wood for tannin, the census of 1909 reports 71,962,000 feet of chestnut lumber cut in Tennessee, with a mill value of $1,121,888. There were also produced 120,000 sets of heading valued at $5,520, and a large number of staves, tes, and poles valued at not less than $325,000. On a most conservative basis the chestnut is, therefore, worth $1,640,000 annually to the State. With the continued reduction in the available supply of other native tannin materials, the chief of which are hemlock and chestnut oak bark, chestnut must become the chief remaining source of supply, and its use will increase. Since low grade chestnut wood and small-sized pieces, including the bark, can be used for tannin stock, this industry in connection with lumbering, permits the complete utilization of the tree. Chestnut has a comparatively rapid growth; it occupies extensive areas either in pure stands or as the dominant species in mixed stands; it grows on land which has a comparatively low value for agriculture, and reproduces freely by sprouts as well as by seed. -These are natural advantages which the tree offers for management. Further, its yield can be largely augmented by protecting the forest from fire, and by thinning young stands; and the value of the forest can be additionally enhanced by systems of cutting designed to produce the most valuable class of commercial products. All these things combine to make the commercial management of chestnut forests a feasible and profitable undertaking.

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