The Toll of Producing Cypress Mulch

The Washington Post, May 19 2008; Page A16

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.

Jeffrey Dubinsky
Central, La.

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

The Washington Post