In 2008, the Save Our Cypress Campaign notched a huge victory and saved tens of thousands of acres of cypress swamps in Louisiana! Wal-Mart stopped selling cypress mulch from anywhere in Louisiana, and Lowe's and Home Depot ended sales of cypress mulch from coastal Louisana. Coordinated, grassroots efforts are the best way to influence companies to protect the environment. Together we convinced Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and Lowe's to help save our cypress.
Those commitments are still on the books, and the retailers now have an ideal opportunity tofully live up to their policies of sustainability by expanding that protection and helping to restore balance to the entire Gulf coast. Of course, vigilance is required to ensure the companies' existing promises are kept.
Members of the Save Our Cypress Coalition also continue working to ensure the relevant federal agencies are conducting enforcement and stopping illegal logging operations.
The Issues We Face
Cypress swamps are valuable natural protection for coastal communities from storm surge and flooding. After the devastation of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, destruction of this coastal ecosystem is unacceptable. Threatened and endangered wildlife, such as the Louisiana black bear and the recently re-discovered ivory-billed woodpecker, also rely on these magnificent trees as important habitat.
The cypress mulch industry has become an imminent threat to the Gulf's swamps, and much of Florida's pristine cypress habitat has already fallen victim to demand for a product fueled by myth. Cypress mulch does not provide a product with any superior attributes, and sustainable alternatives, like pine straw and pine bark nuggets, are just as effective.
In Louisiana, the Governor's Science Working Group report has concluded that many cypress swamps will not regenerate once cut. While cutting has been greatly slowed, it continues to impact areas that will not regrow.
What We Are Doing
Our grassroots efforts are paying off! GRN and the Save Our Cypress Coalition are celebrating the protection of tens of thousands of acres of cypress forests in Louisiana! Wal-Mart is no longer selling cypress from anywhere in the state, and Lowe's and Home Depot have committed to avoiding cypress mulch from coastal Louisiana.
Unfortunately, cypress forests in other Gulf states are still under threat, and the protections for Louisiana may not be permanent. The Save Our Cypress Coalition continues to call on Lowe's, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart to live up to their environmental commitments by ending the sale of unsustainable cypress mulch no matter where it is logged.
Check out the full list of detailed updates on the Save Our Cypress Campaign, and watch our fun campaign video below for a little history on how we have put pressure on the retailers.
What You Can Do?
Thanks for taking action to save our cypress! There are lots of ways to get involved, and every little bit counts! First and foremost, don't buy cypress mulch. Urge your friends and neighbors to avoid the product as well since it is coming from endangered forests on the Gulf Coast that are our best natural storm and flood protection.
Send an email to the CEO's of Lowe's, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot asking them to abandon cypress mulch products.
There are many ways to get involved - from delivering a letter to your local store manager to educating others with one of our Mulch Matters Kits - and you can get the materials and information you need on our Save Our Cypress Campaign Resources Page.
As cypress trees continue to fall, and the mulch spreads throughout the country, we need a vocal and engaged public all over the nation to help halt this destruction.
There are many prepared materials and resources that you can use for a local campaign to hold Lowe's, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart accountable. If there's any exciting news from your efforts, send it to
, and we'll post it on our blog!