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the forest for lower growth to feed on. The canopy of branches and leaves burgeons in the sunlight above, where all the life of the forest takes place. It is an immensely heavy, hard and durable wood (68–80 lbs. a cubic foot). It is without equal in the world for marine construction work as it is resistant to insect attack and the ravages of marine borers. The greenheart piles in the Glasgow docks were found to be in perfect condition after eighty years under water.

The forest concession of B. G. Timbers is veined by a system of roads which are well-enough surfaced to take caterpillar trucks on which the logs are carried. If the trees were in a concentrated area, road construction would be a simple matter, but unfortunately the stands of greenheart are found only at points on the white-sand ridges where there is a mixture of brown sand and clay. Often the only means of getting at the greenheart is by long-range penetration. Tributary tracks lead to the arterial roads over a very large area, since one stand of greenheart may be separated from the next by four or five miles. Thus a road must be built to service an area which, in a few months, is creamed of greenheart; the road must be pushed always deeper into the forest. It is not surprising, then, that B. G. Timbers have made a continual loss since they began operations on a large scale—but it is encouraging that their loss for the last half of 1954 was considerably less than in any other half-year of their existence.

Marine architects will pay a much higher price for greenheart logs which have been hewn square by an axe than they will for sawn logs, and one of the skilled techniques in logging is the hewing of greenheart. It is an amazing sight. The hewers, all African or Kabukru, stand barefoot on the round trunk and, with no more than an eye to see and a big toe to mark the place where the axe must fall, they hew the trunk into a perfect square. Their eye, however, sometimes fails and most greenheart hewers have part of their big toe missing. When a man wounds himself in this way his companions, in the manner of the simpler African, will roar with laughter in which he, too, will join.

I have a special reason to remember greenheart. The assistant-manager of B. G. Timbers had driven me in his jeep to a stand of greenheart which was being cut. We had been

listening for the sound of axeing; it came, a sound like the blow of metal on metal, for the wood is so hard. We stopped and made our way through the forest, superb blue morpho butterflies fluttering round us, in the direction of the sound and some minutes later we found a tree-feller at work on a giant greenheart, heavily buttressed at its foot. The axe-man must fell the log where the bole is straight and so he lashes some strong branches together to form a triangular scaffolding enclosing the tree above the buttresses. On this he now stood precariously, swinging his axe with a beautiful and rhythmic action. We stood back from him against the crown of a fallen greenheart and waited for the giant to fall, I with my camera ready. The cut had passed the halfway mark and the feller turned to us and said, ‘Him funny, him not moving, not an inch.' He continued to cut the dark honey-coloured wood and at last he had all but severed the trunk—and yet still there was no sign of its falling. 'Crown up there', the feller said, pointing up to the leaves and branches 150 feet above, ‘him caught with crown of that tree there, bushropes and lianas all get tied up.' He gave the trunk a few more strokes with his axe; then the sound and movement began, and the feller shouted to us to jump aside; the trunk fell to its death, but with a furious sound of cracking the whole crown came crashing down perpendicularly, torn from the trunk itself. We tried to jump backwards, but the crown of a felled tree was in our way. We put up our arm to protect our faces, but in a moment we knew we were safe the leaves and branches had landed, with a foot or two between us and its outer fringes. If we had been caught beneath it we would have been badly hurt. After we had rubbed the dust from our eyes my companion looked carefully among the branches and, with delight, leapt in among them to pull out a rare specimen of cattleya superba. The incident had been thoroughly worthwhile.

Wallaba is the next most important tree in the Colony, a smallish tree with a trunk from eight to fourteen inches in diameter. Its uses in the Colony are many, supplying firewood, charcoal, shingles for house roofing, fence-posts, staves for water and spirit vats, electricity poles, etc. Wallaba can exist in barren soils where no other tree can survive and so it grows in dense concentrations over a very large area of the Colony's

forests. During the last thirty years a mass of technical information about wallaba wood-pulp has grown up in Government files. In his Notes on Problems Affecting Industrialization of the Interior of British Guiana (1946), Mr. Gerald O. Case, then Consulting Engineer to the Colony, said that after going carefully through all these technical reports he believed that it was not only possible to start a pulp industry in British Guiana, but that in the course of time it should become one of the most important industries of the Colony. He goes on to say that he has seen samples of paper actually made from wallaba pulp and that it is of excellent quality. The history of the wallaba paper project is of interest as an example of the ingenuity which the British administration in the Colony has applied to the task of exploiting the Interior-and of the frustration which this ingenuity so often meets.

In 1926 negotiations were begun by which Government reserved a certain area of Crown Lands for a wallaba pulp and paper project while the feasibility of the project was being examined. Work in U.S.A., Canada and Britain was begun to test wallaba for suitability, and by 1930 the tests had proved successful enough for the interests behind the scheme to settle the details of the leasing of the Crown Lands. By 1937 a formal agreement was signed. During these years research work had continued without interruption and a bleaching process was perfected by which the red pigmentation of the wood was made colourless. The pulp was found to be of a quality between 'rag' and 'Esparto', the two highest-quality pulps in use for papermaking. Yet the concessionaires relinquished their concession. Mr. Case is an enthusiast for the industry and in his Notes he has tried very hard to interest investors in the industry. 'It cannot be doubted', he writes, 'that such a manufacture would result in large profits.... The objects here have been to demonstrate that the Concession is capable of supplying, with certainty and economy, and for an unlimited period, the raw material for a pulp enterprise of considerable magnitude, and that its situation is such that its exploitation could be easily achieved, and, secondly, to present a reasoned and careful estimate merely as a supply of standing timber. On this limited basis, and on the most conservative calculation it has been

shown that... the value of Wallaba is $20,810,000, and in Greenheart $5,040,000, giving a total of £5,383,250.'

This optimism is not shared by the World Bank Report, which does not even mention the possibility of paper-making. The failure to exploit the wallaba forests has been a great cause of discontent among thinking Guianese. They believe it is another example of the vast wealth of the Interior being ignored by British commerce; but it is strange that any economic wealth anywhere in the world should be ignored, and the wallaba project has been examined exhaustively and finally rejected as not being an economic proposition. A very knowledgeable Englishman, Guianese born, told me that during the last forty years he had seen a stream of experts on every possible subject from bottle-making to mica come out to the Colony to examine the possibilities of all mineral discoveries made. But in almost every case the economic snags proved too great and money was not invested. In British Guiana there is a general feeling of resentment about the failure to invest, as if it were intended to cheat the Guianese of the benefits of the wealth of their country. Few will believe that the mineral wealth is not there; the myth of El Dorado dies hard.

The World Bank Report recommended various improvements in timber production. It struck me strongly in the exploited forests that valuable trees were being creamed off without replanting-an example of the blindness which has destroyed such great areas of the world's forests. I was pleased to see that the Report is concerned in the matter, saying, ‘Since exploitation on a commercial scale began, little thought has been given to the rational use and perpetuation of the valuable timber stands. A natural objective has been to cut out the most accessible and commercially valuable timber and to move on to new areas.' It recommends a well-devised forestry programme, and its other major recommendations are: to increase the output of timber and wood products to meet the growing needs of the Colony for development purposes, and to intensify lumber production for export, particularly in species not now well known in world trade.

The headquarters of B. G. Timbers are at Wineperu, on the Essequibo, where the greenheart logs are taken for shipment

to Georgetown by flat-decked pontoon barges towed by tugs. Greenheart is too heavy to float, so it cannot be taken downriver in rafts-as other woods are taken. Thus, once again, costs are put up. The hewn logs go straight to the ships for export and the smaller logs, which are intended for milling, go to the magnificent new Houston Sawmill in Georgetown, the largest and most modern mill in South America. The principal woods which go for milling are mora and crabwood, which are the main woods used in house-building in the Colony.

Portable wooden mortar, said to come from Wai-Wai

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