This is a new campaign started by a coalition of environmental advocacy organizations, Save Our Cypress.
As Louisiana residents rebuild their homes and re-tame the wilds that were once gardens in their yards, they’re grinding up those beautiful trees and tossing them onto their lawns as mulch.
Private landowners are selling their cypress stands to out-of-state operators at a record rate. A few workers and a mobile mulcher are all that’s required, making it easy for manufacturers to disguise the true origin of the mulch. They like to promote the false notion that their cypress mulch is “sustainably-harvested” from Florida or Arkansas forests, and may advertise that fact by selling Louisiana cypress mulch in bags stamped with Florida or Arkansas locations. But don’t be fooled.
Meanwhile, because entire trees are being mulched — not just the bark and limbs which were the byproduct of historical board lumber production — none of the benefits of cypress mulch hold water. Cypress mulch isn’t “no float” or “insect resistant” anymore. As such, it’s better to buy pine straw or pine bark, or to use leaves or pine needles.
We need to preserve our cypress forests, a precious habitat which may still be hiding the ivory-billed woodpecker, and which is a vital storm barrier.
When you go to your gardening supplies store, tell other shoppers loitering in front of cypress mulch bags the truth about the cypress mulch. More importantly, tell the store owner to stop selling it. Don’t accept their arguments that “their” cypress mulch comes from managed forest. If they insist, then you should insist they provide proof of origin.
We need to be vocal about this issue in order to Save Our Cypress.
We also need to demand that the local press pay more attention to this issue, and force public officials to take action to protect our forests. The credibility of our Congressional delegation is being questioned in Washington. David Vitter has finally started talking about coastal restoration, but has always been a tool of timber interests lobbying to kill the Corps of Engineers’ oversight of cypress wetlands. When oil drilling operations have caused so much destruction to Louisiana’s coastline, Bobby Jindal’s offshore oil revenue-sharing legislation requires other states to open up their coasts to drilling.
The Times-Picayune is getting lazy again, resting on its recent accolades. Our Republican-leaning radio stations — Entercom’s WWL, Clear Channel’s WRNO “The New 99.5” Fox News, and locally-owned WIST — are disparaging efforts to sensibly tackle environmental issues by perpetuating the ideological stereotype of “tree-hugging liberals.” And forget about TV press, which has a total blind spot for environmental issues. We should demand that our media organizations advocate for a truly “conservative” agenda of habitat preservation and a healthy environment.
We can’t afford to keeping digging ourselves into a hole. If you’re digging a hole, stop digging. If you’re an a-hole, stop selling cypress mulch.
Let’s kill the market for cypress mulch, because when healthy cypress forests disappear, so will we.
Finally, the Big Easy Rollergirls return this weekend.
Read about how pony-rustler Sophie Nuke’Em who proudly represents “the Newcomb Institute for Wayward Girls.”