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EPA sets coastal-forest logging rule

[Louisiana] Federal environmental officials have decided that before a 200-acre timber operation in Livingston Parish can begin, the landowner needs to prove the cypress forest he wants to log can grow back. Environmentalists have fought the logging of coastal cypress, saying that once cut, they are lost forever because new cypress can’t grow in many areas. Now concern over losing land that acts as a natural buffer against hurricanes has added punch to their arguments. The Louisiana timber industry and some landowners question the science behind the EPA’s new stance and say it could make sustainable logging in coastal areas unprofitable enough to stop it. On a broader front, environmental groups have been calling on the state to restrict cypress logging in all areas where high water or other problems make regeneration of cypress forests unlikely. They cite a report from the Science Working Group on Coastal Wetland Forest Conservation and Use, a group established by Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Gary Shaffer, a biological science professor at Southeastern Louisiana University who has spent years researching coastal forests, was equally enthusiastic. “This is a huge victory for all who have worked hard for over a decade to convince EPA that logging cypress in most of coastal Louisiana is not a silviculture practice”

News notes are courtesy of Southern Forests Network News Notes





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