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.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.