Cypress: The Wood Eternal

Cypress: The Wood Eternal


  • Cypress: The Wood Eternal

Published Date

  • published 1941


1913, decreasing to 332,000,000 board feet by 1931 when Florida
contributed 144,000,000 of the total and Louisiana ranked second with

The prospect for cypress reforestation is considered dubious
because of the slow growth. For instance, the average diameter above the
basal swell of a tree two hundred years old was found to be slightly
under two feet in Louisiana. Reforestation depends in a measure upon
the extent that swamplands of natural growth are reclaimed for forest
planting. Improve methods in lumbering may leave cut-over tracts in
condition favorable to new growth. Only a very small amount of second-
growth cypress is now being cut on areas logged many years ago.

There is a vast field for forest management on some 42,440,000
acres of permanent swamp in the country where nothing but cypress can
be produced profitably. Nearly half of this acreage is in Florida. The
profits for private venture, however, are slow and uncertain.

The country's wealth of cypress remained practically untouched
until the late 1880's when a decline in the supply of southern white pine
sent lumbermen into the Deep South to solve the problem of getting out
heretofore inaccessible cypress timber. Most of the early mills were
located on stream extending to large cypress stands. Since mules and
oxen were useless in snaking the massive logs out of the deep swamps,
operators resorted to floating them out during period of high water
through natural or artificial canals. Dredges were used to clear the way
for pullboats upon which steampowered machinery was mounted to skid
the logs from the swamps to the water.