Thursday, May 12, 2005

New study emphasizes wetland forest preservation

Governor Blanco has just released a dense scientific report of wetland forest conservation and use written by the Governor's Science Working Group. After I find time to read it over, I may have more to post. This is an incredible resource for anyone interested in learning more about the geology, flora and fauna of Louisiana. For now, I'll just say that this is an extremely timely piece of research that citizens should become acquainted with in order to continue the battle against deforestation and habitat degradation in Louisiana.

Most recently, of course, Senator Vitter is trying to sneak a cypress logging provision into coastal restoration legislation (and I'll have more to write in the future about Mary Landrieu's endeavors to sneak bad environmental legislation into other bills).

The report, Conservation, Protection and Utilization of Louisiana’s Coastal Wetland Forests, is packed full of information about why logging Louisiana's remaining cypress should be halted, and it's a great orientation to the geology and flora of Louisiana. The most important message I'm getting from scanning the document is how difficult it is to restore these forests after they're destroyed, especially when the hydrology of Louisiana is changing so dramatically. The biggest obstacle to regeneration appears to be...(anyone want to venture a guess?)...did you answer saltwater intrusion? That's right.

Here's what the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club is saying about the report:

The Delta Chapter has long taken a stand in opposition to cypress trees being cut strictly to be ground into landscape mulch. Now we all have an opportunity to do something that can really make a difference - defend the Final Draft Report to the Governor of Louisiana from the Science Working Group on Coastal Wetland Forest Conservation and Use.

The scientists found that cypress rarely regenerates on its own and the young trees that do sprout are subject to consumption by nutria, excessive flooding, salinity intrusion, invasive species taking over, etc., significantly reducing their chances of survival. Cypress forests are now in the same category as pine forests that have very different rates of regeneration! IF WE VALUE CYPRESS FORESTS WE HAVE LEFT, THEY MUST BE RE-DESIGNATED NOW! It will be too late after they've been "harvested".

Simply go online to http://www.coastalforestswg.lsu.edu/ and click on the line reading "LCA Final Report" to read the report (it's long, but please see Page 7 in particular). Click on "Public Input" on the left side of the page to send your comments by e-mail, or to get the mailing address.

Suggested comments:

Urge immediate reclassification of cypress forests as non-sustainable (it would take hundreds of years for new trees to grow to maturity - they should really be considered "old-growth forests).

Insist that plans for the cypress/tupelo forests' regeneration be in place BEFORE they are harvested.

Reiterate that the few seedlings that sprout have very little chance of growing to maturity because of nutria, flooding, salinity, invasive species choking them out, etc.

As large numbers of neo-tropical migrant land bird species migrate through the coastal forests of Louisiana, these species' viability must be taken into consideration in valuing cypress/tupelo forests

Commend the group of scientists who drafted the report!

1 Comments:

At 1/04/2006 06:49:00 AM, Anonymous Digitrees said...

Hi everyone.

I'm looking for support to help preserve our worlds forests.

You can find out more about what I'm trying to do to help at www.digitrees.com .

If you find what im doing to be a good idea and would like to help I would be more than grateful if you could post a link to the site in any other forum/newsgroups/blogs etc that you use.

Kind Regards

William - Digitrees

 

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