At New Harmony High in Louisiana, we’re constantly in awe of the nature that surrounds us and the rich history of our region. Check out these incredible black and white images of cypress loggers during the beginning of the 20th century.
Cypress trees are the state tree of Louisiana and they can live for over 1000 years. Cypress trees have “knees” which are actually roots that grow above the surface of land or water. These roots transport air to the submerged roots and help to stabilize the massive tree.
The National Wildlife Federation describe the importance of bald cypresses to the ecosystem:
“They tend to grow along rivers and in wetlands, they are excellent at soaking up floodwaters and preventing erosion. They also trap pollutants and prevent them from spreading. Frogs, toads, and salamanders use bald cypress swamps as breeding grounds. Wood ducks nest in hollow trunks, catfish spawn in the submerged hollow logs, and raptors like bald eagles nest in the treetops.”
So cypress swamps are an incredible asset to the ecosystem to help control flooding and pollution and to protect animal habitats.
In the past, cypresses were logged for mulch and for wood to make furniture. Now, industrial cypress logging is regulated because cypress trees take a long while to grow back. Additionally, salt water encroachment from the canals dug in from the Gulf, flooding from hurricanes, and invasive species threaten the well-being of the cypress forests.
This is where New Harmony comes in! Can you imagine our students researching how to save cypress forests? Or looking for cypress seedlings that have survived in brackish water despite our knowledge that salinity threatens their growth?