- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
325

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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IRKUTSK TO VLADIVOSTOK
325
the Chang-kwan-tsai-lin (Shao-bo-shan) range. Un
fortunately we were already past the mountain itself,
which I should have liked to see ; it has big forests and
fine scenery, the Baron said, and as yet I have seen no
large forests in these parts, nothing but desolate,
monotonous scenery, with very little variety in its forms.
The forest covers a great extent of the western slopes of
Chang-kwan-tsai-lin, and consists largely of cedar,
besides larch, from what Baron Huene told me.
Much cedar timber is felled in these forests, to be
tåken by rail to Vladivostok and shipped from there.
There are eight sawmills in the forests, belonging to
the great firm of Skidalski of Vladivostok, which exports
over a million roubles’ worth of cedar yearly. At one of
the stations we saw many trucks loaded with cedar
planks. This cedar, as already mentioned, is a
valuable wood ; but still it is strange that it can pay
with the long transport, first by rail to the coast and
then the sea voyage. The railway journey alone is at
least 250 miles.
We soon came down to the plains by the Mutån,
a tributary of the Sungari ; here too there was to some
extent the same brown prairie as before with rolling hills,
either bare or covered with thin bush, mostly dwarf oak,
and only a few somewhat larger trees, a kind of sessile
cupped oak. But there was a considerable increase of
cultivated land here, as we advanced. Here and there
were ploughed fields, and patches of cabbages and other
vegetables, millets and beans ; and haystacks too.
The people here are Chinese, and they are industrious
and capable agriculturists.
We can clearly see the importance of a railway
like this to the cultivation of the land. Before the line
was made all these steppes were practically uninhabited
and uncultivated. Since the railway was opened, and

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