Thursday, July 07, 2005

New cypress logging story

There's not much new on the Louisiana cypress logging issue in the recent opinion piece by Amy Wold for the Baton Rouge Advocate, but I'm glad to see the issue is still getting attention, and that state representatives realize the need to formulate a policy on cypress logging that reflects the value of cypress forests, and that addresses the sale of mulch as a driving factor behind cypress logging:

Cypress -- one of the predominant trees in the coastal wetland forest -- is highly prized for use in construction and furniture and as decorative landscape mulch. ...

Barry Kohl, conservation chairman for the Louisiana Audubon Council, said concerned community groups have been researching logging permits with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other government agencies. Kohl said it appears that much of the proposed logging activity in Louisiana anticipates harvesting cypress trees for landscaping mulch. ...

"You think to yourself, 'Aren't the cypress trees more important to the state than that?,'" Kohl said. ...

"There's no management plan for this kind of forest," Kohl said.

"The feeling, I think, among the foresters is that if you cut down the trees and wait long enough, the trees will regrow," Kohl said. The most recent report from the governor-organized scientist panel, however, found that there are areas in the state where the trees won't come back -- even if artificially planted.

The former Baton Rouge Audobon Society President, Dorothy Prowell, wrote a letter to the editor of The Advocate which frames the issue a little more urgently:
It is difficult to imagine that we would consider cutting down the trees at the same time we are trying to save our coast. They are an integral part of the coast, often the last line of defense against the encroaching Gulf.

The wetland forests cannot be separated from the marshes and the barrier islands and the coastline. It is all part of one ecosystem. ...

Unfortunately, when large areas of coastal forests are opened to logging, this will eliminate habitat critical to migratory birds and waterfowl, including areas that could be part of a recovery plan for the ivory-billed woodpecker.

There is no logical way to connect saving our coast, promoting our state for tourism and cutting down endangered forests.

There's more elsewhere in People Get Ready on this topic (see links in the "Issue Action" sidebar.


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