Thursday, January 30, 2014

Author Mattoon's Southern Cypress Last Record of Virgin-Growth Cypress Forests in Louisiana, 1915

Wilbur R. Mattoon graduated in forestry from Yale University in 1904 after which he embarked upon his extensive study and work in forestry in the South researching historical records of the management of southern commercial trees. 

 
Figure 6. This virgin stand of Bald Cypress in Ashley County, Arkansas, was well stocked with valuable columnar trees in the early 20 century. As impressive as these trees appear, they would actually have been smaller than the 8 to 10 foot diameter trees routinely found in the best virgin cypress swamps of the Southeast, prior to the era of aggressive lumber exploitation (Mattoon 1915).



Figure 7. This amazing photograph was published in W.R. Mattoon’s important agriculture bulletin on Bald Cypress in 1915. It illustrates a massive cypress in Georgia that was 46 inches in diameter and 128 feet tall, with the locomotive engine being used to log this virgin forest for scale.
He also conducted the first experiments in the South on reforestation. 
 

Figure 10. Mattoon’s 1915 map illustrates the areas of “local” and “heavy production” of cypress lumber in the early 20 century. Most of the cypress lumber was produced in Louisiana and Florida.
His article "The Southern Cypress", written in 1915, is valued for detailing the era of the last original virgin-growth forests.


The original cover of "The Southern Cypress" by W.R. Mattoon, published by the US Department of Agriculture September 27, 1915.