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Mulch Sold in NM ‘Chipping Away’ at Gulf’s Hurricane Protection

August 28, 2007

A simple bag of garden mulch from your local hardware store or home center could contain the remains of an important protection against Gulf Coast hurricanes. Cypress mulch, which is often produced from trees cut from southern swamplands, is now on a "no buy" list, created by a coalition of conservation groups two years after Katrina. The groups are circulating that list to consumers in New Mexico and across the nation, according to Leslie March, with the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club in Louisiana.

"For every bag that’s purchased, they’re encouraging the loggers to go back in and cut more cypress, essentially chipping away at our hurricane protection."

Producers say they only use timber waste to make mulch, not entire trees. But March says that’s not what they found when they visited the swamp to see where felled cypress trees would end up.

"We followed the trees to mulching operations, and often the operations are pouring the mulch into bags that say the product is from Florida."

March says the coalition has been working with large retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart to identify mulch made from non-sustainable cypress. She says there are better mulch alternatives like pine bark, pine needles, melaleuca and eucalyptus.

More information is available at www.saveourcypress.org.



Eric Mack/David Law, Public News Service - NM