Mulch Madness – Mother Jones


Screen Capture - Mother Jones Cypress Mulch Article

The plight of the cypress forests has been featured in the March 2008 edition of Mother Jones magazine. Excerpt is below as well as a link to the complete article on

Like a Great Wall rimming the coast, cypress forests in the
Atchafalaya and elsewhere in Louisiana are the single best defense
against hurricanes—magnitudes stronger, more enduring, and cheaper than
any concrete or earthen levee. Their extensive root system spreads
several hundred feet, weaving a tight lattice that serves as an anchor
against high winds and storm surges. Hassan Mashriqui, a Louisiana
State University professor of coastal engineering who creates computer
simulations of hurricanes, told me that a stand of cypress just a
football field in width can slash a town-leveling, 20-foot-high storm
surge by 90 percent.

Which makes it all the more staggering that in recent years an
entire industry intent on logging cypress has lawfully sprung up. Some
of the timber winds up as boards for home construction or furniture,
but most trees are ground into garden mulch. That’s right: The last
natural stronghold that could stop hurricanes from obliterating
southern Louisiana is being pulverized into chips to adorn the very
homes that the cypress would save from annihilation. According to the
Louisiana Forestry Association, loggers are razing up to 20,000 acres
of cypress every year. If the carnage continues apace, Louisiana’s
strongest barrier between it and an angry sea will be gone in fewer
than two decades.

Read the complete article on Mother Jones.