The Toll of Producing Cypress Mulch

Monday, May 19, 2008

The May 11 Business article "Shreds, Reds and Stony Beds" recommended the use of cypress mulch. But the Sierra Club, along with its partners in the Save Our Cypress Coalition, has been fighting for years against the destructive and unsustainable logging practices of the cypress mulch industry.

Louisiana, Florida and the other Gulf states are paying a premium so that unknowing consumers can use cypress mulch in their gardens. Cypress mulch is not a byproduct of milling operations. The mulch industry is clear-cutting tens of thousands of acres of century-old trees, which lack the commonly touted rot- and insect-resistant characteristics of the ancient growth, and is putting them into a chipper and sending them off to your local retailer or garden center.

While the federal government is setting aside billions of dollars to restore storm-damaged and eroding coastlines, our best natural storm protection is being clear-cut at an alarming rate for the sole purpose of making mulch. And despite claims by the forestry industry, the cypress trees are not growing back.

Until major retailers such as Lowe's, Home Depot and Wal-Mart take a stand against selling cypress mulch from clear-cut forests, we will continue to permanently lose vital storm protection and precious habitat for our fishing industry and our endangered and threatened species.


Central, La.

The writer is chair of the Baton Rouge Group of the Sierra Club and Internet organizer for the Save Our Cypress Coalition.

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