Project Description

Bald Cypress

Taxodium distichum is a large, slow growing but long lived tree belonging to the Cupressaceae family. It is commonly known as the Bald Cypress and is native to the swamps and flood plains of the East Coast and Southeastern United States extending to Guatemala (Conner, 1994; The Natural Conservancy, n.d.).  The bald cypress wetland forest provides both direct benefits, such as timber, as well as long term ecological services (Mitsch & Gosselink, 2000). These benefits include ecological services such as mitigating flood peaks, water quality protection and drought prevention (Mitsch & Gosselink, 2000). Wetlands have been estimated to provide more ecological services when compared to lakes, rivers and grasslands.

Louisiana state actually has a long history of cypress logging, dating back as far as 1722. Bald cypress’ large size as well as natural resistance against decay and dry wood termites  makes it a valuable material for construction, ship building, carving, interior cabinetry and trims (“Plant Fact Sheet,” 2002; Scheffer & Cowling, 1966; Scheffrahn et al., 1988). In fact, this slow growing deciduous conifer has been known to exceed 30 meters in height and 1 meter in diameter.

Works Cited

Conner, W. H. (1994). Effect of forest management practices on southern forested wetland productivity. Wetlands, 14(1), 27–40.

Mitsch, W. J., & Gosselink, J. G. (2000). The value of wetlands : importance of scale and landscape setting. Ecological Economics, 35(200), 25–33.

Plant Fact Sheet. (2002). In USDA NRCS.

Scheffer, T. C., & Cowling, E. B. (1966). Natural resistance of wood to microbial deterioration. Annual Review of Phytopathology, 4(1), 147–168.

Scheffrahn, R. H., Hsu, R.-C., Su, N.-Y., Huffan, J. B., Midland, S. L., & Sims, J. J. (1988). Allelochemical resistance of bald cypress, Taxodium distichum, heartwood to the subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 14(3), 765–776.

The Natural Conservancy. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/northcarolina/explore/ancient-bald-cypress-trees-black-river.xml