To the Society of American Foresters:
It is with a keen sense of appreciation that I accept the award of the Schlich Forestry Medal. I, of course, appreciate your generous recognition of my efforts on behalf of forestry in which I have always been greatly interested; but what I appreciate most of all is that the recognition comes from a profession which from its very inception has looked upon the forests as an instrument for the social and economic betterment of our people—a profession which has always been imbued with an intense spirit of public service.
I consider the social point of view of foresters as most essential to the success of their profession. Forests require many years to mature; consequently the long point of view is necessary if the forests are to be maintained for the good of our country. He who would hold this long point of view must realize the need of subordinating immediate profits for the sake of the future public welfare.
A forest is not solely so many thousand board feet of lumber to be logged when market conditions make it profitable. It is an integral part of our natural land covering, and the most potent factor in maintaining Nature's delicate balance in the organic and inorganic worlds. In his struggle for selfish gain, man has often needlessly tipped the scales so that Nature's balance has been destroyed, and the public welfare has usually been on the short-weighted side. Such public necessities, therefore, must not be destroyed because there is profit for someone in their destruction. The preservation of the forests must be lifted above mere dollars and cents considerations.
For this reason, I consider the conservation provision of the code adopted by the lumber industry as a great step toward recognition of the social value of the forests. The essence of this provision should be retained no matter what other changes may be made in the code.
The handling of our forests as a continuous, renewable resource means permanent employment and stability to our country life. The forests are also needed for mitigating extreme climatic fluctuations, holding the soil on the slopes, retaining the moisture in the ground, and controlling the equable flow of water in our streams. The forests are the "lungs" of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. Truly, they make the country more livable.
There is a new awakening to the importance of the forests to the country, and if you foresters remain true to your ideals, the country may confidently trust its most precious heritage to your safe-keeping.