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The Training of a Forester - Gifford Pinchot
The following is an excerpt from a manual on training a forester.

Pinchot, Gifford. The Training of a Forester. Philadelphia;London: J.B. Lippincott, 1914. WorldCat [OCLC]. Web. 25 Mar. 2016.

The word "degradation" in line 65 most nearly means