Cypress: The Wood Eternal

Cypress: The Wood Eternal


  • Cypress: The Wood Eternal

Published Date

  • published 1941


In the Dead Lakes of the Chipola river, near Wewahitchka,
Florida, where a cypress forest has been gradually inundated, slow
growth in clear, fresh water has produced a very light and soft wood.
On the other hand, trees growing in ponds or swamps of acid soil is
usually much heavier.

The permanent flooding of a cypress forest by clear water to a
point above the top of the knees results in death to the trees. This was
demonstrated over a nonalluvial area 10 miles long and half a mile wide
in the Dead Lakes where the water rose from 3 to 6 feet. Yet on
adjoining lands along the Apalachicola River where alluvial deposits kept
pace with the rise in water, the roots of the trees lie deeply buried and
very old specimens are still thriving.

As pointed out, the supply of cypress is rapidly being exhausted.
The stand now is only about a tenth of what it was in 1909. Florida
contains probably as much as half of all the remaining cypress in the
country. The country's total stand of a size suitable for lumber was
estimated at 41,400,000,000 board feet in 1931 pending completion of a
survey then under way, as compared to 40,000,000,000 board feet in
1909 and 22,921,000,000 in 1920. The average annual cut of cypress for
all purposes, between 1926 and 1931 was approximately 700,000,000
board feet. Florida ranked second in production until 1928. Since then
the State has taken first place.

The total annual cut for the country as a whole increased from
500,000,000 board feet in 1899 to a peak of 1,097,000,000 board feet in