Title page for ETD etd-06162005-104702

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hurst, Christopher Aubrey
URN etd-06162005-104702
Title Sinker Cypress: Treasures of a Lost Landscape
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Geography & Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kent Mathewson Committee Chair
Craig E. Colten Committee Member
Miles E. Richardson Committee Member
  • sinkercypress
  • baldcypress
  • louisiana
  • cypress
Date of Defense 2005-05-13
Availability unrestricted
Sinker cypress (Taxodium spp.) logs are timbers that were lost during transit from harvest locations in the swamps and mill sites during the industrial cypress harvest from 1880-1930. A small industry has developed, concentrated on the recovery of sinker logs. Most of the persons involved in the recovery of sinker cypress, mill the logs into lumber, and sell the timber directly to consumers or to distributors. A smaller number of pullers retain the logs for personal use. Recovery operations are a costly endeavor and require a significant investment on the part of the harvesters. Most pullers are owner/operators who do not use profits from log sales as a primary source of income.

The federal and state governments have enacted policies and regulations to prevent negative impacts on the ecosystems around recovery locations. Persons who harvest sinker cypress logs must apply for permits to remove sinker cypress from waterways. Sinker cypress recovery is cost and labor intensive. The preferred methodology of finding logs is to don diving gear and feel for logs in the mud on the bottoms of rivers and streams.

This study was conducted in south Louisiana and conclusions were based primarily on personal interviews and legal studies. There is a spatial relationship between the cultural identity of south Louisiana and cypress. South Louisiana is a source of sinker cypress and the majority of people who purchase the wood live in region. The wood is also used on a smaller scale in restoration projects in the United States in order to maintain consistent wood grain matching.

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