Thursday, April 05, 2012

Request for urgent action - St. Martin Parish School Board wants to cut cypress forest

The St. Martin Parish School Board has contracted a logger to cut cypress from 640 acres in the Atchafalaya Basin. We are campaigning to get them to reconsider. School Board members are political people and we believe they will be influenced by a letter writing campaign. We need this to happen within two to three weeks. We have Tulane University Law Clinic lawyers working on this and they requested the letter writing campaign. Please at least send letters to the School Board President and Vice President. The same letter sent to more school board members is even better.
School Board name and address information is at
Sample letter is presented below this text. Please feel free to modify the letter with your own words.
Thanks for your help, Woody Martin, Sierra Club Delta Chapter

Sample letter:

Name and address of sender


Name and address of school board member

Dear Mr.

This is to request that St. Martin Parish School Board not cut trees, especially cypress, on Section 16 land in the Atchafalaya Basin. The Atchafalaya Basin is a unique and invaluable natural resource for the State of Louisiana and for our country. I am concerned that cutting of cypress trees in the Basin is damaging forever its natural character. I am informed that when cypress trees are cut they will never grow back because of changing water levels and predation of juvenile cypress by the invasive nutria. Therefore cutting of cypress does not qualify as silviculture because there is no natural regrowth of the same trees. Furthermore the trees could be of much more value to St. Martin Parish schools if they are left standing than if they are cut in a one time logging operation, after which they are gone forever.

I believe that St. Martin Parish School Board is taking the wrong path when it jumps to the conclusion that logging is the only way to make money on this land. There are at least three other options for making money on land with standing trees including ecotourism, conservation easements, and carbon mitigation bank credits. Any of these choices has the huge additional benefits of preserving the forest for its ecosystem and economic value to persons who fish, hunt and watch birds in natural forested wetlands, and the benefit of leaving cypress trees standing for appreciation by future generations. I believe that the School Board should look more broadly at ways to benefit from the value of the standing cypress forest before sacrificing that forest for a short term and relatively small economic return. In addition I believe that the school board should consider that the dollar value of cut trees does not come anywhere close to representing the true economic, cultural and spiritual value of the natural forest.

Thank you for your consideration of this request,


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