The recent article on cypress mulch (“Mulch Madness,” April 2) misrepresents the work of private landowners, foresters, loggers, and industry to sustainably manage our valuable forest resources. It was these very same landowners and foresters who replanted our forests to the point that we now have half our state — 14 million acres — in forests.
First, official forest inventory statistics show cypress growing prolifically in Louisiana. The data also shows only a small percentage being harvested in any year — a number that has remained stable. The large relic cypress and those growing by open water in your photos are misleading as well since no one is cutting those types of cypress for commercial use.
Most landowners who harvest some of their cypress trees are selling them for cypress lumber desired by cabinet makers and furniture manufacturers. Selling cypress for lumber pays three times the amount it would for mulch. The residue from the lumber process goes into mulch. If you want to fully utilize our forests resources with no waste, you should buy cypress mulch.
None of our noted forest scientists believe logging will wipe out cypress in 20 years. Subsidence and coastal erosion are the biggest threats to our cypress, not our forest landowners. It is the marshlands that will be a protective barrier from the storm, not our inland cypress forests.
Flyovers by our state officials in the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry show no massive clearcuts, and to those in the business of forestry the quote that “they can log a thousand acres a day” is ridiculous.
Over 80 percent of the forestland in the state is privately owned. Landowners take pride in ownership and management. They do not want to destroy their land but instead hope to hand it down to their children.
Some are portrayed as guardians of the forest who do nothing for them. Contrast that to the hard-working men and women who continue to invest time, money, and experience into Louisiana’s forest lands.
Writer Michael Behar responds:
According to the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency, nobody has replanted a single cypress tree. John Bruza, chief of surveillance and enforcement for the Army Corps, said to me: “We know of no cypress swamps that have been harvested that have been replanted. To say that there were 400,000 planted [a figure I got directly from Mr. Vandersteen], that does not mean that they were planted in cypress swamps. Somebody could buy a hundred cypress trees to put in their front yard.”
Yes, cypress are growing. Trees grow. That’s what they do. We’re talking about cutting down cypress. New cypress are not growing from seedlings. The “official forest inventory” is referring to existing cypress, which, as I said, are growing taller. Much of the cypress harvested are simply too scrawny to make decent lumber — you can’t get a 1” x 4” from a skinny tree. Whole trees are being ground up. Vandersteen confirmed this. He told me, “In some areas there are cypress trees growing so thin that the landowner says they are going to cut these trees and there is no real market for logs in the area, so they cut it for mulch.” Although later he does claim that loggers don’t cut trees measuring less than 12 inches in diameter.
I flew over in a plane and saw plenty of clearcuts. The quote says,“a thousand acres in a week.” Also, Vandersteen told me, “We harvest 100 acres here, 100 acres there, or 500 acres over there. They are all patchwork.” I would define this as a clearcut.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
New standards curb elective induction
CVS stops tobacco sales
If an Acadia Parish fiddler misses a note while swatting a fly, will a St. Martinville accordionist learn “Ma ‘Tite Fille”?
(It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy)