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lungs and brain and its membranes congested, but not invariably, for
sometimes the reverse conditions exist ; and the blood is dark and
clotted, its coagulability is impaired, and it is deficient in oxygen. In
death from ordinary cases of thermic fever or insolation, the pulmo-
nary system is often deeply congested ; the heart is firmly contracted
with coagulation of myosin ; the venous system is engorged ; the body
may be marked with livid patches ; the blood shows a tendency to a
separation of its fluid and solid constituents, and may be acid in reac-
tion ; and the body retains a high temperature for some time after
death. The brain and membranes may be congested, but the disease
is essentially asphyxia, not apoplexy.

In cases of simple exhaustion, remove the person to a cooler place,
if possible. Give a douche, but not too prolonged, or it may over-
depress. A stimulant may be useful ; rouse, and gently stimulate ;
remove tight and oppressive clothing. Treat as in ordinary fainting —
apply ammonia to nostrils, etc. Let the patient rest, and avoid expos-
ure to over-fatigue or to great heat. In the form of sunstroke where
the person is struck down suddenly by a hot sun, remove him into the
shade, and allow a douche of cold water to fall from a height on his
head and body. This should be freely resorted to, the object being
twofold — to reduce the temperature of the over-heated centers, and to
rouse by reflex action. During the assault on the "White-House
picket," at the capture of Rangoon in 1853, numbers of men were
struck down by the fierce April sun. They were brought to me, and
laid out in rows, perfectly unconscious, i7i their red coats and black
leather stocks. They nearly all recovered — for the time, at all events
— under the influence of the douche, freely applied over the head and



SUNSTROKE AND SO^fE OF ITS SEQUELAE. 175

body. In some cases rousiiif; l>y flagellation with the sweeper\s brooni
was added with great effect, especially in the case of Brigadier-Gen-
eral W , who I thought must have died. All, or nearly all, recov-
ered, except two, both of whom had been bled on the spot before I
saw them.

In addition to the douche, stimulants, such as mustard-plasters, to
various parts of the body, legs, abdomen, etc., and stimulating injec-
tions, which relieve the loaded bowels and at the same time rouse, may
be useful.

When I say such cases recovered, I refer to the reaction at the
time. In some there were consecutive symptoms of fever, headache,
etc. ; and, were we able to trace their subsequent history, we should
probably find that complete recovery never occurred. If recovery is
incomplete, and followed by indications of disordered nerve-centers or
of meningitis, other treatment of a more active character will be need-
ed, according to the conditions.

Future exposure to the sun should be carefully guarded against,
and, unless recovery has been rapid and complete, the sufferer, if in
India or the tropics, should be removed to a cooler climate, where he
should be protected from all excitement of mind or body, and the
greatest care be taken not only to avoid all eiTors or excesses of diet,
but also of stimulants.

In the graver cases of thermic fever, or heat-asphyxia, heat being
the primary cause of the disease, the object is to reduce temperature
as speedily as possible and before tissue-changes have been caused.
Remedies adapted to fevers may be used sometimes with advantage.
Bleeding has now happily been abandoned except in rare and peculiar
cases. The treatment, generally, consists in the judicious application
of cold by affusion, or by ice, taking care not to reduce temperature
too low. Great care should be taken not to prolong the cold applica-
tion too far, as danger would attend continued depression of the tem-
perature below the normal standard of blood-heat. The bowels should
be relieved, and blisters may be applied to the scalp and neck, though
I can not but say I have not much faith in their eflicaey. In the
epileptiform convulsions that so frequently occur, the inhalation of
chloroform may be useful, but its administration must be carefully
watched. The earliest and most severe symptoms having subsided,
the febrile condition that follows is to be treated on ordinary princi-
ples ; the diet must be carefully regulated. As improvement pro-
gresses, sjnnptoras of intra-cranial mischief may begin to supervene ;
where the indications are of meningitis, iodide of potash and counter-
irritation may be of service ; removal to a cooler climate is essential.

The sequelae of sunstroke are often very distressing, and render
the patient a source of anxiety and suffering to himself and to his
friends.

Among them are, in various degrees of



176 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

paired memory, epilepsy or epileptiform attacks, headache, mania, par-
tial or complete paraplegia (paralysis of the lower half of the body),
paitial or complete blindness, extreme intolerance of heat, especially
of the sun's rays, rendering a person otherwise fairly healthy quite
incapable of living in hot climates or of enduring any exposure to the
sun ; or, the attack may gradually end in complete fatuity, dementia,
or epilepsy, perchance both ; chronic meningitis, Avith thickening of
the calvarium, accounting for the intense pains in the head ; or, in a
lesser degree, in disordered nervous condition and general functional
derangement.

The less severe symptoms — those probably of the slighter forms
of meningitis, or of cerebral change — occasionally pass away after
protracted residence in a cold climate ; they are, however, not unfre-
quently the cause of suffering, and of danger to and shortening of
life, pointing to permanently disturbed if not structurally altered
cerebro-spiual centers. — Abridged from Brain.



THE VALUE OF OUIi FORESTS.

By N. K. EGLESTON.

IT may be considered as now established, by the most careful and
intelligent investigation of the subject, that the highest welfare of
almost any country demands that from one fifth to one fourth of its
surface shall be covered with trees, and that these shall be, to a good
degree, in masses. England will at once be adduced, perhaps, as a
country not well wooded, and yet one which compares favorably with
others in regard to the conditions of living and her competency to
secure the welfare of all classes of her people. But P^ngland is spe-
cially favored in other respects. She has a moist and equable climate
secured to her by her surrounding seas and high latitude, while the
general shape of her surface and her geological constitution exempt
her from the alternations of flood and drought which in so many other
countries result from the absence of forests.

Whether the forests insure a greater rainfall in their vicinity than
is received upon an equal area of open land has been disputed among
scientific men, though the preponderance of opinion now seems to
favor the conclusion that the rainfall is most abundant in wooded re-
gions. This corresponds also with the prevalent belief of the common
people, the unscientific but practical observers.

A special committee of the Royal Academy of Vienna, reporting
in 1874 upon a "Memoir of Mr. Ho'frath Wex upon the Diminution of
the Water of Rivers and Streams," used the following language upon
this particular point : " The question of the influence of forests upon



THE VALUE OF OUR FORESTS. 177

the amount of precipitation has for some time engaged the attention of
naturalists. Such an influence has been asserted, partly from theoretic
considerations and partly on account of the entire change presented by
the climatic relations of the countries in which the forests have disap-
peared, ... It is probable that such influence exists ; but while on
the one hand its consequences may be over-estimated, on the other hand
there is want of direct proof, inasmuch as the rain measurements have
been continued for too short a time, both at stations situated within
the woods and outside of them in the open fields. . . .

" The commission consequently concluded that an influence of the
woods upon the amount of rain deposited, and especially upon the yearly
contribution, is probable, although direct observation does not give suffi-
cient evidence to determine its extent, or positively its existence."

Dr. Rogers, of Mauritius, gives this testimony : " So late as 1864
the island was resorted to by invalids from India, as the ' pearl ' of the
Indian Ocean — it being then one mass of verdure. But, when the for-
ests were cleared to gain space for sugar-cultivation, the rainfall
diminished, the rivers dwindled down to muddy streams, the water
became stagnant in cracks, crevices, and natural hollows, while the
equable temperature of the island entirely changed, drought was expe-
rienced in the midst of the ocean, and thunder-showers were rarely
any longer witnessed. . . . The hills were subsequently planted with
trees, and the rivers and streams resumed their former dimensions."

The Island of Ascension was formerly almost a barren rock. The
supply of water was very scanty, derived solely from a few springs,
and water was often brought from the Cape of Good Hope, and even
from England, for the needs of the garrison. About twenty-five years
ago the planting of trees and shrubs and the cultivation of the soil
were undertaken vigorously. The water-supply has increased with the
progress of this work, until now it is excellent, and the garrison and
ships visiting the island are supplied with abundance of water and
vegetables of various kinds.

Observations in France by M. Fautrat, reported to the Academy
of Sciences, showed that, in a dense wood of five hundred hectares, a
rain-gauge fixed on a tall poplar received much more water than one
of similar height three hundred metres beyond the borders of the
woods. Experiments continued during two years confirmed the first
results, and an instrument placed over a forest of Pin us sylvestris, at
twelve metres' elevation, received ten per cent, more water than one at
the same height in the open fields.

But, however the case may be as to the effect of forests upon the
amount of rainfall, there can be no doubt that they secure a more
equable distribution of the rains than is usual in the open country.
They are also great storehouses of moisture. By their myriad leaves
they intercept the moisture of the passing clouds or the damp winds,
and convey it to the ground, or hold it within their embrace ready to
VOL. XIX. — 12



178 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

be given out again to a drier atmosphere and to surrounding objects.
It is well known, also, that the leaves of the trees, as they fall from
year to year and decay, form a spongy soil, which absorbs the rains
that fall upon it, and retains them, when otherwise, where there is any
declivity, the water would run off almost immediately. The roots of
the trees, likewise, penetrating deeply into the ground, conduct a con-
siderable portion of the moisture falling from the clouds far below the
spongy surface-soil. Shaded by the leaves and branches of the trees,
the moisture thus stored up is not soon evaporated, as it would be
from the open ground, but passes off slowly into the surrounding air,
and imparts its benefits in the largest measure to the adjacent lands.

While thus sending out their moisture upon the cultivated fields
around them, and thereby favoring the growing crops, the forests aid
the work of husbandry in another way. By their very mass they
serve as a mechanical barrier against the winds, which are often so
injurious to crops. Every one who has visited the forest with any
frequency knows that he is obliged to go but a short distance within
its borders to escape the influence of even a violent wind. So it is
also well known that the woodmen engaged in felling trees in the
forest, which they usually do in the winter, find no inconvenience
from cold winds, as these penetrate the wood but a short distance,
even when the trees are stripped of their leaves. And as the woods
shelter those within them from the winds, so do they protect the
adjacent' fields from the blasts which would otherwise sweep over
them, and, by their cold, their mechanical force, and their desiccating
influence, prove very injurious to crops. The presence of a forest is
often, on this account, in its effect upon adjacent lands, equivalent to
a change of latitude of several degrees. This is sufficient to make
the cultivation of certain crops successful which otherwise could
not be undertaken. There are districts of France and Italy where
the olive and the orange once flourished, but where now, on account
of the change of climate resulting from the extensive removal of the
forests which formerly abounded, they can no longer be grown with
success. It is not going too far to say that, if one fourth of the land
now under cultivation were converted into forests and groves so dis-
posed as to form barriers against the coldest and strongest or most
prevalent winds, the remaining three fourths would have more value
for agricultural purposes than the whole has at present. This would
result from the greater variety of crops which could be raised, their
earlier maturity, the greater certainty of growth, and the larger ag-
gregate yield, while there would be, in addition, the large product of
the forest itself, to be used, as occasion might demand, for fuel and
lumber.

The effect of trees in preventing or diminishing the evaporation
from the ground caused by the passage of drying winds is far from
being properly appreciated. We often speak of the effect of wind in



THE VALUE OF OUR FORESTS. 179

drying muddy roads as being greater than that of sunshine, while we
fail to recognize the fact that the desiccating effect is the same upon
the fields as upon the roads.

Forests have a very obvious influence also in preventing the occur-
rence of floods and droughts. When the rains fall upon the open,
unwooded country, unless it is of a quite level character, they flow
off at once into the beds of the neighboring streams, and pour their
united flood into the larger rivers, swelling their volume rapidly to
such an extent that their waters can not be confined within their
banks, but break out and overspread the adjacent lands, carrying de-
struction oftentimes to the growing crops, covering fertile fields with
masses of gravel and rubbish of various sorts, interfering with manu-
facturing interests, and often destroying life itself. These floods are
succeeded by periods of drought. The flow of water in the streams
shrinks away, often leaving their beds almost dry. As a consequence,
crops and herds suffer, the mill-wheels are stopped or turn but slowly
and feebly, the transportation of merchandise is impeded, and the va-
rious industries of life suffer. The forests prevent such a deplorable
condition of things. The spongy soil formed by their fallen leaves,
accumulated for years, retains the rain which falls upon it as in a great
reservoir, and obliges it to flow off gradually instead of with a sudden
flood. The difference in the operation in the two cases may be likened
to that between the flow of the rain from a smoothly shingled house-
roof and from one covered with thatch. In the one case the water
runs at once to the ground without any impediment. In the other it
sinks into the straw to a considerable depth and trickles thence for
days perhaps after the rain has ceased to fall. So, our hillsides and
mountain-slopes, where the forests are most usually found, are the
world's great roofs or water-sheds, from which, if they are thatched
with trees, the water flows off slowly and in the most desirable man-
ner into the streams and upon the lands of the regions below, but,
if stripped of this protecting covering, then with sudden and disastrous
flood which no art of man can withstand.

This is well illustrated by the report of the effect of a storm in
two neighboring ravines in the valley of the Durance in southeastern
France, the Ravine de St. Phalez and the Ravine de la Combe d'Yeuse.
St. Phalez runs north and south, has a basin of reception fifty hectares
(one hundred and twenty-five acres) in extent, is well cultivated and
has an argillaceous soil. Combe d'Yeuse is much more steep, has a
basin of reception of two hundred and fifty hectares (seven hundred
and twenty-five acres), and is covered with pines and oaks. In other
respects the two ravines are alike.

In September, 1864, an abundant rainfall took place. On the
morning after the rain the ravine of St. Phalez was flowing with a
small stream. The Combe d'Yeuse was dry. During the day a water-
spout struck the mountain and prevailed for not more than forty rain-



i8o THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

utes ; hardly bad it begun when the torrent of St. Phalez became
awful ; it filled the ravine from bank to bank, seizing and carrying
off rocks which had been used to form a road, which was considered
safe against all contingencies. At the same time, that of Combe
d'Yeuse and all those traversing wooded lands remained dry or car-
ried a comparatively insignificant quantity of water.

The forest conservator describes a second scene on the same spot
in the following October. In a few minutes after the rain began, the
torrent of St. Phalez gushed forth with the same destructive effect as
before. But after an entire day of rain a small stream appeared com-
ing down the Ravine d'Yeuse, which increased for three days and then
for two declined. The only damage done was to a little footpath.
" Thus we have," says the reporter^ " two torrents very near to each
other, and exposed to the same conditions, except that the basin
drained by the one comprises fifty hectares of cultivated lands, that
of the other two hundred and fifty hectares of woodlands. The first
receives and allows to flow away the waters of the greater part of a
storm in a few hours at most, causing thereby considerable damage ;
the second, which has received a greater quantity of rain, stores it —
keeps it for two days — evidently retaining a portion of it, and takes
three or four days to yield up the surplus, which it does in the form
of a limpid and inoffensive stream."

So also in the colder latitudes, where during the wintry months
the moisture of the atmosphere is precipitated in the form of snow
and accumulates often to a great depth, the conservative influence of
the forest is very obvious. The temperature of the woods is warmer
in winter, as it is cooler in summer, than that of the open ground.
Sheltered from the winds and, to a considerable degree, from the cold,
the snows themselves forming a protecting covering, the earth seldom
freezes in the forest, and the warmth from the ground below gradu-
ally melts the snow and so feeds the springs and streams as to main-
tain in them an equable flow. As the warmer sun and wind of ad-
vancing spring-time begin to heat the surface of the ground, the
screen of the trees prevents their influence from being so sensibly felt
in the woods as in the open fields. The result is, that the snows dis-
solve gradually, and the resultant water, sinking in the first place and
for the most part into the spongy, leafy soil, flows away gently, as do
the rains of summer-time, into the valleys and fields below. But, when
the forests have been removed, the case is very different. The snows,
no longer screened from the sun's rays and the warm winds by the
interposed foliage or even the naked trunks of the trees, are rapidly
dissolved, often before the earth beneath or the ground over which the
waters must flow has been unlocked from the wintry frosts. As a
necessary result, thousands of rivulets are formed almost at once,
which are precipitated into the adjacent streams, whose rapidly in-
creased volumes are hurried to the larger streams below, and thus we



THE VALUE OF OUR FORESTS. 181

have our spring floods, often so destructive to property as well as
life.

There is another aspect in which the forests are to be regarded,
but in which we have hardly begun to consider them properly, and
that is the economical one, as the continuous producers of fuel, and
of lumber for use in the mechanic arts. With our boundless area of
cheap lands, covered originally with forests to such an extent that
the trees have been regarded as an obstruction to agriculture, and so
to be swept away often by fire rather than to await the slower proc-
ess of the axe, we have thought little of the forest as anything of
permanent value. Added to this the practically unlimited area of our
coal-fields has served to prevent any apprehension of loss from the
destruction of the forests. That there is ever to come a time when
we may suffer from a scarcity of wood for fuel or for the arts, hardly
seems to have entered many minds.

Very different is the settled feeling in other countries in respect
to the value of the forests. When in some portions of Europe the
peasant has to travel miles on foot to bring home, as the result of a
Avhole day's labor, an armful of wood to burn, and can afford to bake
bread but once in six months because fuel is so scarce and dear ; and
when England, with only four or five per cent, of woodland, is gravely
and anxiously figuring out the time when her coal-fields will be ex-
hausted, and her vast manufacturing interest will be at the expense
of purchasing its fuel from other countries or suffer iijevitable decline
or extinction — the importance of the forest, in an economical as well as
in a political point of view, becomes at once apparent. The coal-fields
are not growing, and never can be made to grow again. They were
deposited ages since, once for all, and, so far as we can see, are to
have no successors or substitutes but the living trees, following each
other from generation to generation.

It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that the European nations,
having learned its value by its loss in greater or less measure, see
the forest to be an important factor in all that constitutes national
life and comfort, and have given it a place in their thoughts and
in their practical arrangements which we have not in ours. It is not
surprising that they should establish schools for the special purpose
of teaching all that relates to the growth and preservation of the
forest, that they should make It a matter of national and political con-
cern, and that the literature of the subject should be so extensive that
it is estimated that from the German press alone as many as a hundred
volumes and paniphlets on forestry, in some of its aspects, are issued
annually.

Germany has given much attention to her forests ever since the
days of Charlemagne, who is said to have afforested the Ardennes and
established the forest of Osnabrilck. The sovereigns of Germany
have treated the woodlands not merely as preserves for game and



i82 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

places for royal enjoyment in its pursuit, but have encouraged their
cultivation for the production of fuel and timber, as well as for their
value in other respects. It will indicate the careful attention given
to the forests in Germany, when we find it ofiicially reported that the
net returns of the forests are from two to twelve thalers per hectare
(two and a half acres), and the value of the land together with its
crop is estimated at fifty-two and a half thalers per hectare,

England, now having a smaller percentage of forest than any coun-
try of Europe, with the exception of Spain and Portugal, was well
wooded at the remotest historical period ; but as early as the thirteenth
century, in the time of Henry III, she found it necessary to import pine-
lumber, and apprehension began to be felt of the failure of the forests.

Hardly anything has been done in England compared with what
has been done in Germany, France, and other Continental countries,
to establish and protect the forests. Individuals have done some-
thing, as for instance the Duke of Athol, who, in the early part of the
present century, planted several thousand acres of the barren hillsides
of Scotland with the larch. His successors in the dukedom have fol-
lowed his worthy example and extended the woodland area, and de-
monstrated that the work of forestry, rightly prosecuted, is pecuni-
arily profitable as well as desirable in other respects. It is only
within the last few years that the English Government has shown any
considerable interest in this subject. Some action has been taken for
the purpose of protecting the forests in her colonies from destruction,



Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 23 of 110)