Truth to Power

LA destroying ecosystem for yard mulch

Louisiana’s Mulch Madness

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. </em>

Really makes you wonder if we as a species are smart enough to be trusted with the planet, don’t it?

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