GREAT NORTHERN FORESTS OF EUROPE 481. European regions that are like Ameri can regions.—In North America, as we go northward from the St. Lawrence valley and the Northern Wheat Region, we find a great belt of evergreen forest, and beyond it a treeless zone, or tundra, that reaches to the ice-bound Arctic Sea. Europe has similar regions. North of the Central European Plain is a belt of evergreen forest that reaches continuously from the Scandinavian mountains to the Ural Mountains and on across Asia to the Pacific. Like a part of the American forest, the great northern forest of Europe stands on a low plain that was once covered by an ice-sheet which has left many swamps and lakes, both large and small. As in America, this northern forest is a land of long cold winter and deep snow. Evergreen trees extend northward to the edge of the tundra. In the northern forests of Europe and Asia, as in those of America, the bear and the fur-gatherer roam the woods. The wild boar is still to be found there, and wolves sometimes pursue the hunter and the traveler, as they do in all similar regions.
482. Two kinds of work.—This forested country of Sweden, Finland, and North Russia differs from the American forest by having some farmers in it. Land is so scarce in Europe that, with much labor, men have cleared away rocks and drained swamps and have made little farms in east Sweden and Finland. Most of these farmers have two kinds of work, one for the winter and another for the summer season. In the summer men tend their little' farms, grow oats and pota toes, and make hay. When winter comes, they leave their wives and children to take care of the cows, while they go into the forests, where they camp all winter, chopping wood and dragging logs to the stream bank. In spring the logs are floated downstream, just as is done in the forests of New England and Canada. In some of the Swedish rivers special channels have been made by building canals around waterfalls. Thus the logs can rush down without lodging in the rocks.
483. The lumber ships.—When spring has melted the ice of winter and the northern waters are again open, hundreds of British, German, French, and Dutch ships hasten to the small ports along the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland, and the White Sea. They return with loads of lum ber, poles for coal mine props, and wood pulp for the paper mills. Sometimes all the parts of a wooden house are loaded on the ship and carried away, to be put up in some land across the sea. England is able
to get along with only one-thirtieth of her land in forests because she uses the timber of this northern forest region, where nearly all the land is forest-covered.
484. The rafting trip.—The southeastern part of this forest is drained by the branches of the Volga, a splendid waterway for rafts. Each spring the timber-cutters from this part of the forest float their logs, lumber, and even finished houses down the river to market in the treeless wheat region. (Sec. 477.) 485. Iron ore and platinum.—About Lulea and Gellivare, in northern Sweden, are two of the great iron-mining districts of the Old World. Most of the ore from these mines is used in England and the Rhine district. In summer, ore ships go down the Gulf of Bothnia. In winter, they sail from Narvik in Norway, to Which a special railroad has been built to carry ore across the mountains during the months when the Baltic is frozen. Thus, because the warm Atlantic reaches these shores (Secs. 407-408), the Swedish iron mines can ship ore winter and summer, while the mines of the Lake Superior district, much farther south, must close in winter, because ice shuts the water highway be tween the mines and the furnaces.
In the part of this district near to the Ural Mountains there are mines that before the World War furnished nine-tenths of the world's platinum. This metal is heavier than gold and more costly. Most of it is used in chemical laboratories and in jewelry.
486. have already studied about the Russians and the Swedes, but most of the people of this region are Finns. The Finns, like the Swedes, are an intelligent, well-educated, liberty-loving people, but they were conquered a long time ago by Russia. Like the Poles, the Finns have suffered from the bad government of the Czar of Russia, and for generations they have longed to be independent. After the World War, Finland once more became a free and separate country.
487. is not one of the re gions where a large increase of population may be expected. There is little land suitable for farms. For manufactures other than those of wood, it is not so well equipped by nature as regions farther west. Never theless, the Finns, being an industrious, thrifty people, will make the best of their opportunities. Since most of their land should be a well-preserved forest, let us hope that they will be able to prevent forest fires. Sweden has already begun to take care of her forests in a scientific way.