The time having arrived for cutting some of the timber on a commercial scale, a railway has been laid down through the forest for transporting the felled logs, and an electrically driven saw mill has been erected to cut the timber.
The Maccauvlei Forest on the Vereeniging Estates covers an area of approximately 4,000 acres and contains over four million trees. The Forest has been planted and maintained on scientific lines, with the object of obtaining long, clean timber of high quality. The fullest protective measures are taken against fire, destructive insects and weeds.
The plantations were started 26 years ago, and the cost of planting and maintaining them has exceeded £60,000. The majority of the trees are coniferous and the timber of these will take the place of the deals, of which large quantities are at present imported from overseas. There are also a large number of hardwood trees which produce valuable timber for purposes of wagon building, furniture making and railway sleepers. The annual rainfall over the Estates averages 26 inches and enables the trees to put on excellent growth.
increased considerably and difficulty has been experienced at times in getting all the suitable timber that is needed."
"Pinus Insignis is being used extensively for general purposes and when well seasoned is better for many classes of work than imported deals." Pinus Pinaster is used extensively in the construction of railway vans.
Over 2,000,000 of the trees are pine trees, chiefly of the Pinus Insignis and Pinus Pinaster varieties. The Pinus Insignis in the Western Plantations are from 24 to 26 years old, the largest of the trees being over 50 feet in height. The Pinus Pinaster, being of slower growth, are about 40 feet in height.
The following extract is quoted from the report of Sir William Hoy, General Manager of the South African Government Railways, for the year ended March 31st 1920: "The use of South African timber for railway and harbour purposes has