France Forestry

France Forestry and Fishing

Forestry. – In 1913 the forests covered an area of ​​9.890.000 ha., That is a little more than the sixth part of the French territory; and the acreage, far from diminishing, had increased in a century by over a million hectares. The French forests suffered the damage of the war (166,000 ha. Destroyed, out of the 652,855 of the area of ​​operations), but the restitution of Alsace and Lorraine brought about 440,000 ha: in 1929 the woods and forests occupied an area of about 10 and a half million hectares. The state, departments, municipalities, certain public institutions and about 85,000 owners own ¾ of the forests of France. These forests are very unevenly distributed: the great western plain and all the lands whose height is less than 200 m., which constitute more than half of the entire surface and contain ⅔ of the population, they only have ⅓ of the forests, even though they include 978,000 ha. of Gascony; instead the regions above 500 m. (mountains in the center and in the periphery) own most of them. The great mountain systems, despite the excessive deforestation, have preserved very important wooded areas: the forests of Grande-Chartreuse and Vercors in the Alps, the forests of Mercoire and d’Aubrac in the Massif Central, the forest of Quillan in the Pyrenees. The Parisian Basin is fairly rich in forests, which develop on sandy soils or on leeslimestone côtes of the eastern part (Compiègne, Villers-Cotterets, Fontainebleau forests, Haye forest between Nancy and Toul, Argonne forests). To these ancient forests we must add the pine forests recently created in the barren soils: clays from Champagne Pouilleuse, clays from Sologne, sands from Landes.

Before the war, total timber production was estimated at 25 million cubic meters. (7 million cubic meters of construction timber and 18 million of firewood); Alsace and Lorraine provided 650,000 cubic meters of construction timber and 1,366,000 of firewood. French timber production is not sufficient for consumption; and it must be imported from the northern regions of Europe and the French colonies. In addition to fuels and building materials, France obtains from its forests cork, in the Maures, Esterel and Albères, and resin (pine forests of the Landes), which, with turpentine, makes more than half a billion l ‘ year. The paper mills employ 640,000 tons. of wood pulp, of which only 180,000 produced in France: they come especially from Isère, Charente, Dordogne,

Fishing. – Fishing, especially sea fishing, makes a strong contribution to national nutrition. River fishing, carried out in the streams and ponds of the Sologne and Dombes, yields pike, trout, eel, etc., but in relatively small quantities. Sea fishing is carried out on the high seas or on the coasts. Deep- sea fishing or pêche hauturière has an industrial character: it is done by well-organized companies with large capital. Steamships with great autonomy are replacing sailboats every day: they depart from large ports, to go fishing, during the winter, for cod in the north of the Atlantic (Newfoundland, Iceland), and, between July and October, herring in the North Sea.

Fishing on the coasts is a private enterprise, generally individual, increasingly carried out by means of steamboats from patrons pêcheurs: fishing for herring in the North Sea and the English Channel, for sardines in the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay, for tuna and mackerel in the Mediterranean. Fishing tends to gather around some centers, which have created an improved equipment for the conservation and shipping of fish: Boulogne, the first fishing port, not only in France, but also in the continent, where fishing in 1920 gave almost 70,000 tons. fish, worth 120 million francs, about one sixth of all fish harvested in France; Lorient, with absolutely modern equipment; la R0chelle, Arcachon. By now, as far as fishing is concerned, the small ports scattered along the coast have lost all importance.

According to, fishing has given rise to the fish preservation and salting industry; the preparation of canned sardines is practiced especially on the Breton coast, between Brest and Nantes, especially in Douarnenez and Concarneau. Oyster farming in Cancale, Marennes, Arcachon, and elsewhere is a source of income for the maritime populations; between Dunkirk and Saint-Jean-de-Luz there are about forty such centers.

France Forestry