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In 2008, the Mulch & Soil Research Foundation (MSRF) commissioned an independent research study and data review on the topic of cypress sustainability. The report was in response to undocumented claims by environmental organizations regarding excessive harvests and deforestation of cypress in coastal areas of Louisiana and Florida.
The study was conducted by F&W Forestry Resources of Albany, GA. At its conclusion, the following summary of results was presented:
The cypress resource in the southeastern states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida exhibits a favorable ratio of growth to removals (harvests).
The cypress resource in this seven state area is sustainable and a management and harvesting program should be encouraged for a continued healthy and viable resource.
The latest U.S. Forest Service inventory data indicates growth significantly exceeds removals across all states in the analysis. The large and reasonably well-distributed cypress inventory adds strength (and backup) to the sustainability of this resource. It is also noted that cypress can and will regenerate in almost all forests by sprouting from harvested stumps, natural seeding, and/or by planting seedlings.
The cypress forests that tend to have problems with regeneration are typically affected by man-made changes associated with transportation systems, flood control structures, railroads, and numerous other water flow changes that have occurred over time. These cypress stands can be easily identified, mapped, and avoided.
Most cypress forests will successfully regenerate following harvest under appropriate conditions. The Southern Cypress resource has a positive growth-to-drain ratio that provides landowners the opportunity to manage and harvest these lands.
Cypress sawmills in the southeastern states use mostly large cypress trees that generate over 35% or more of waste. The mulch market offers a good market alternative for utilizing this material rather than selling it for energy production or disposing to landfills. Utilization of this resource is economically important to both sawmills and landowners and is environmentally responsible.
MSC SUSTAINABILITY POLICY
In recognition of the growing public preference for environmentally sustainable products, the Mulch & Soil Council issues this statement on mulch:
The Mulch & Soil Council encourages and supports the continuing efforts of the Forest Products Industry to develop and enforce Best Management Practices (BMPs) for loggers and landowners that recognize and promote sustainable forest management. The Council pledges our continued efforts to assure optimum utilization of our natural resources through the recycling of forest by-products into mulch. The wise use of mulch improves the environment by conserving water, reducing herbicide use, preventing erosion, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and returning organic matter to the earth from which it came.
To view a copy of the cypress sustainability report, CLICK HERE.
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