Hurricane Katrina's destruction on the gulf coast extends beyond the houses and streets of New Orleans. It's estimated that more than 64,000 acres of mature cypress forest was wiped out in the hurricane. Coastal cypress forests provide a buffer from storms, protecting inland areas. The hurricane's destruction only highlights the ongoing loss of this valuable resource. For years mature cypress forests have been harvested not just for timber but for highly desirable mulch for gardens. Cypress mulch is not only very decorative, it has natural rot- and insect-repelling characteristics.
Unfortunately, so much of the mature cypress forests have been harvested that mulch manufacturers have begun to harvest immature stands. Not only does this prevent the forest's regeneration, research has shown that the wood from immature cypress trees lacks the beneficial characteristics of mature trees.
One way gardeners around the country can help stem the tide of destruction of these cypress forests and therefore help protect coastal areas of the Gulf from future hurricane damage, is to avoid buying cypress mulch. Instead purchase mulch produced from plentiful sources in your region.