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.
Business organizations opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to job losses and higher prices for goods and services.
An attempt to repeal a six-year-old law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside a classroom's adopted textbook has been rejected by the Senate Education Committee.
New York Times poll shows Obama, Jindal have identical approval and disapproval ratings in the state.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.