Date: February 21, 1931
Location: Northampton, MA
Summary: Federal and local governments should increase reforestation to increase our lumber supply. One way to do this without causing wage or production problems would be to give this work to the unemployed.
If the government ever needs to give work to the unemployed, an enlarged system of reforestation would be a partial solution free from objection. It would not interfere with rates of wages or marketing of production in any of the existing industries. Operation could cease without loss.
Every one knows we are rapidly exhausting our timber supply. The authorities state that of our original eight hundred million acres of virgin forest only about one hundred and forty million acres remain. Annually forest fires sweep over twelve million acres. We are cutting off ten million acres more, which is about four times as much as is replaced by natural growth. We have planted less than two million acres.
The nation and some of the states already have acquired much land for growing timber. Compared with what is needed, only a slight beginning has been made in reforestation. Because it has no immediate effect and would serve no private interest, governments have been too slow to conserve, encourage and replenish our lumber supply. Yet we cannot maintain our present standards without a generous use of wood. Under the co-operation of Federal and local governments a national policy of reforestation should be adopted without delay.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Jill Leavitt who prepared this document for digital publication.