The hunt, which was for so long a resource, not only for the natives, who lived exclusively of bison meat, but also for the European settlers, has lost its importance due to the almost total destruction of the game.
The fishing is still widely practiced, both in rivers and lakes, and along the seashores. It is particularly active in the coastal seas of New England, where the main fishing ports are Boston, Glocester and Portland (Maine): cod, herring, mackerel and plaice, are the most important prey which, for the ports mentioned, represented in 1930 worth $ 12.7 million. On the Pacific coast, the main fishing is that of sardines in California and that of salmon in Washington and Oregon, and is concentrated in Astoria and Portland and in the ports of Pouget Sund. Salmon fishing is of utmost importance and is also widely imported from Alaska.
In 1930 the total value of sea, river and lake fishing was 95 million dollars: 76,663 fishing boats and 122,775 fishermen were involved. The shores of the Chesapeake Bay are famous for their oyster farming, while sponges are fished in the Florida Channel.
F orestas and forest industry. – Originally the forests of North America had an enormous extension, but they covered two separate and distinct sections: the first occupied almost the entire eastern part, between the Atlantic coast and the course of the Mississippi, even going beyond the river with large swaths dating back to Arkansas and the Red River, while, west of the Great Lakes, the forest came to join the great Canadian forest. The second section included the Pacific coast north of arid California and vast swaths of the Rocky Mountains.
Naturally the forest varied in its composition from N. to S.: in New England and in the belt surrounding the Great Lakes, coniferous plants, firs and larches prevailed; followed by the woods of broad-leaved trees, oaks, beeches, lime trees, and then, from Carolina to Louisiana, the forest of the coastal plains, of evergreen plants, passing through the tropical flora, of the strip along the Gulf of Mexico. In the western section the coastal forests, thanks to the rich rainfall, were even more dense and the enormous sequoia grew there, which even nowadays raise their gigantic columns up to a hundred meters; but the wooded mantle of the Rocciose was thinner and less uniform.
The colonization, starting from the Atlantic shore, had to open the way in this green expanse of trees and the assault on the forest was intense and relentless, both because the land for cultivation had to be obtained at the expense of the forest, and because the clearing of the forests ensured the domination of the white men in front of the natives, who found the best defense there.
Currently the forest territory, including reforested areas and secondary forest areas, measures in the eastern area hq. 147.8 million, equal to 54% of the original forest; much less was the destruction in the western area where the 52.4 million hectares of woods represent about 91% of the primitive territory. But these figures do not give the real picture, since, if about a quarter of the territory is considered forest, less than a third of this area is occupied by primitive forests, about half is forests and woods that have grown irregularly after the first devastation and the fires, and a sixth is formed by uncultivated land, almost devoid of trees. Consequently, the forest is not sufficient for the need, on the contrary it is calculated that the timber felled annually and that destroyed.
Hence the urgency of the forestry problem, which the state has tried to remedy by establishing a forest state property of permanently wooded lands and areas to be reforested and regulating excessive exploitation with restrictive laws.
The supply of lumber has shifted over time from E. to W. Still in the 1850s New England and New York state came first for logging and processing, but already ten years later the primacy had passed to Pennsylvania. Exploitation then extended into the Lakes region, but the destruction was so intense that currently the pine forests in Michigan and Wisconsin are reduced to just three percent of the original area. Towards the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century, the southern forests gave the largest amount of wood, but now they supply only 20% of the needs, while 61% of the lumber comes from the forests of the Rocky Mountains. and from the Pacific coast and especially from the state of Washington.
The production of timber is now estimated at around 57 million cubic meters: of these 72% belongs to the states of the Pacific and the South. The most important markets are: Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit and New York to the north; St Louis and Memphis on the Mississippi; Seattle and Tacoma on the Pacific, and Pensacola on the Gulf of Mexico. The most valuable qualities are Douglas fir from the western regions and pitch pine of the South. Among the related industries comes the sawmill, which in 1927 had 20,000 factories, some of which very modest, scattered throughout the forest areas: of these 800, located in the Pacific and Gulf states, processed more than half of the product total. The main centers of the furniture factory are: New York, Grand Rapids in Michigan, Jamestown in North Dakota, Evansville in Indiana and Chicago and Rockford in Illinois.
A separate place is occupied by the manufacture of pulp, a raw material for paper mills, which is prepared mainly in the northern states and more particularly in New England, in the state of New York and in Michigan. Much of the raw material is imported from Canada.