Conservation controversies between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior from 1898 to 1910



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During the 1880's, the American Forestry Association observed individual and corporate exploiters reducing timberlands to waste; therefore, in 1889, it petitioned the President for public forest preservation and pressured Congress to withdraw public lands from sale. The following year, President Benjamin Harrison urged Congress to establish a national committee to determine reserve withdrawals, and in March, 1891, Congress authorized the President to vjithdraw forest reserves from entry. After procrastinating for six years, Congress in the Forest Reserve Act of 1897 empowered the Secretary of Interior to protect these wooded areas. In 1898, Gifford Pinchot, after being named Chief Forester, immediately laid the basis for reserve transfer from Interior, the land-disposal department which failed adequately to protect the timberlands, to Agriculture, designed for cultivation. He worked constantly to better the nation’s public and private forests by dispensing practical advice to farmers, lumbermen, miners, grazers, commercial interests, and settlers. In 1905, after laboring for seven years with the support of many influential groups, as well as leading magazines, Pinchot persuaded Congress to transfer reserve control from Interior to Agriculture. [...]



Forest conservation, Natural resources management