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There are something over 500,000 acres of privately owned land in this area of the Atchafalaya below Krotz Springs. Most of it is timberland, more or less cut off. Most of the cypress is gone and quite a bit of the old tupelo is gone. But there is a splendid growth of young tupelo on this land. They are still commercially taking the larger timber out at this time, and will for quite a while yet. As the sediment is brought down and poured over the roots of these trees it kills them. The extension of the levees down the Atcha falaya has caused this area where the sediment has been deposited to progress down into the basin, and every tree is killed as far out as this silt can reach. I think I am safe in saying that every particle of timber in the Atchafalaya Basin under this approved plan whereby the discharge of the Atchafalaya would be greater than heretofore will be killed in 40 years or thereabouts.

I base it upon this: The turbidity of the average Mississippi River water that passes New Orleans is about one in 2,500 by volume. I got that from the purification plant at New Orleans, which has been taking daily tests for 40 years. If we will just say that the annual average discharge of the Atchafalaya was only 50,000 second-feet, it would mean that an average of 14,600 acres a year would have sediment deposited on it a foot deep. Of course, it is not going to be deposited just that way. There is going to be more on some and less on others. But 50,000 second-feet a year is hardly, in fact, not nearly, as much as we get now on this property, not half of what we are going to get as the development of the Atchafalaya progresses. It is safe to say that the sediment that will go over that land and over that timber will be equivalent to a foot on 25,000 acres every year. There are about 528,000 acres of timbered land and some 80,000 acres of lake bottom which belong to the State, and upon which there will not be any remuneration. I feel sure that in 40 years there will be no timber in the lower Atchafalaya Basin worth while.

Now, as to the value of the growing timber, this tupelo gum grows pretty fast, and this second-growth tupelo grows faster than cypress

and shades it and kills it. But there are lands down there which were cut over 25 or 30 or 40 years ago that now have a fine growth of second-growth tupelo on it, almost big enough, some of it, for mill purposes. A PRELIMINARY STUDY OF THE GROWTHI AND YIELD OF SECOND-GROWTH TUPELO

GUM IN THE ATCHAFALAYA BASIN OF SOUTHERN LOUISIANA (By E. W. Hadley, assistant silviculturist, Southern Forest Experiment

Station )

Tupelo gum (Nyssa aquatica Linn) is the chief associate of southern cypress in the vast tidewater swamps near the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Virginia to Texas, and in smaller scattered areas of stream bottoms and sloughs subject to deep overflow farther inland, in these nine States and also in Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. The cypress-tupelo type proper covers perhaps a third of the 34 million acres of cypress hardwoods forest in these

1 Field measurements by W. R. B. line and E. W. Hadley: Computation and text by Hadley. Some of the information herein contained is a revision of figures presented before the annual meeting of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers' Association, May 23, 1923. hy Director Forbes of the southern station.

2 How the United States Can Meet Its Present and Future Pulpwood Requirements, hy E. H. (lapp and C. W. Boyce, l'. S. Department of Agriculture Bulletin 1241, 1921.

States, a forest which in turn comprises 7.2 percent of the total area of forest land in the United States and is 31 percent as large as the southern pine and oak-pine types. In addition, tupelo and other black gums (sweet or red gum is a distinct species, not even remotely related to the black gums) are scattered very widely throughout the southern bottomland forests.

The present stand of tupelo and black gum, of which the greater part is virgin timber, is placed at about 110 million cords (see footnote 2). This is for the Coastal States and Arkansas. There are no figures at all available covering the stand of second-growth tupelo, with which alone this publication deals.

In: virgin stands of the cypress-tupelo type cypress predominates, with tupelo gum ranking a close second. In second-growth stands the tupelo generally predominates, in some cases to the total exclusion of cypress, in the Lower Mississippi States. In the South Atlantic States, on the other hand, the relative volume of cypress is much greater. A large portion of this type has been culled over for all merchantable cypress and the better grades of tupelo gum. and in a very few years this condition will become universal, with much closer utilization of the virgin gums. Florida is the only State in which extensive virgin areas remain.


Cypress and tupelo are the only two species of this type worthy of consideration for timber growing. The relatively slow growth and irregular regen. eration of cypress make it a much less hopeful species for a second crop than the tupelo. Furthermore, the practice of close cutting in cypress and comparatively light cutting of the less valuable tupelo has resulted in leaving cut-over lands with very adequate supplies and tupelo seed trees and rather poor supplies of cypress seed trees. Sprouts, and possibly seed stored in the soil, will be a factor in establishing second growth, with the advantage probably still in favor of tupelo. This condition is reflected by the manner in which pure stands of second-growth tupelo are establishing themselves over very extensive cut-over areas. On such areas pure stands of second-growth cypress are rare and generally occur in small, isolated groups.

However, where second-growth cypress does occur in mixtures with tupelo it eventually attains dominance, and for this reason it seems possible that tupelo may prove to be a transition type (as is the case of aspen following severe burns or cutting in the spruce forests of the West) and that cypress may regain possession of the land if nature is allowed a free hand.


At present cypress and tupelo cut-over lands are of rather indefinite value and their management or disposal to advantage is a problem of increasing concern to the owners. The only use of these lands which has been considered appears to be development for agriculture after drainage. Probably the bulk of them will require pumping for successful drainage, and the cost of such reclamation has generally been prohibitive, particularly in the face of decreasing demand for new agricultural areas. It therefore seems reasonably certain that many years will elapse before economic conditions will make such reclamation practical. Although such lands are generally held at a valuation of only $1 or $2 per acre and are taxed at a correspondingly low figure, the holding of them by the owners for indefinite periods has been felt by many to be an extremely doubtful proposition. The remedy for this situation lies in the recognition of the value of the second-growth tupelo coming in over extensive areas of cypress-tupelo cut-over lands.


The general extension southward of the papermaking industry and the successful use of gums, including tupelo, in the manufacture of both newsprint and book paper should soon create an excellent market for small-size tupelo in the form of cordwood for pulp. In 1923, 43,989 cords of gum (all species combined) were used in the manufacture of paper pulp in the United States."

• Pulpwood Consumption and Woodpulp Production. Forest Products : 1923, Bureau of the i'eusus, U. S. Department of Comiuerce, in covperation with the Forest Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture.

With the certain increase in the number of pulp mills in the South, the demand for gum cordwood should become permanent. A new method of making a good grade of book paper out of equal parts of southern pine and gum, cooked by the sulphate process, has recently been perfected at the Forest Products Laboratory of the Forest Service. The sulphate process is the common one now used in making fiber-board, kraft paper, and similar material from southern pines, and pulp mills heretofore using pine exclusively may be on the market for tupelo in a short time. A still newer process, already well beyond the experimental stage, for using light-colored hardwoods such as the gums in newsprint production, has been announced by the Forest Products Laboratory. It is a combination of mechanical and chemical processes.


The four most important questions that concern the prospective grower of second-growth tupelo are (1) how fast does tupelo grow, (2) is it coming back universally under present logging conditions, (3) is it marketable at small sizes, and (4) can small trees be economically logged ? Although some general discussion has been given in preceding paragraphs on the first three of these questions, the purpose of this study is to answer definitely only the first-to determine the actual growth and yield of wood that may be expected in normal stands of second-growth tupelo. Whether or not this growth and yield represents a value sufficient to justify holding of the land in private ownership is a problem varying with locality and to be solved by the individual owner.

Although all figures presented in this paper are considered preliminary, due to the rather small number of field measurements taken and limited area covered, they are believed to give fairly accurate indications of the growth and yield of second-growth tupelo gum in the deep“ tidewater swamps of Southern Louisiana.

TABLE 1.-Preliminary normal yield table for second-growth tupelo gum-Lower

Atchafalaya River Basin, southorn Louisiana, 1926-Merchantable trees only

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1 Only trees containing one or more 8-foot cuts with a top diameter inside bark of 35 inches or over were considered. Volumes are for solid wood content, exclusive of bark.

Converting factor-75 cubic feet = 1 cord.
Current annual growth=125 cubic feet per acre ,within age limits given.


Table 1 gives average yields, in volume of merchantable wood per acre, that may be expected in well-stocked stands of second-growth tupelo gum at 5-year intervals from 20 to 50, inclusive.


Any variations of soil quality within the region studied were considered so slight as to have little effect on the growth of the trees. A single yield table is therefore presented for the entire region, the phrase "normal yield " means capacity production under natural conditions.

Only merchantable volume was considered in the construction of this table. The minimum size of a merchantable stick was taken as 4 feet in length and 312 inches in diameter inside the bark at the small end.

No trees containing less than two merchantable sticks entered into the computations.

The column headings should be interpreted as follows:

“Age, years.” Actual average age of stand from germination of seed or date of sprouting.

Number of trees per acre.” Merchantable trees only as explained in footnote of table.

"All trees and “Dominant trees." Subcolumns headed "All trees ” include all merchantable trees per acre, that is, all trees containing two or more 4-foot sticks with top diameter inside the bark of 312 inches or over. Subcolumns headed “ Dominants" include only the larger merchantable trees whose crowns form the general level of the forest canopy or extend above it. In the younger age classes the values of these two subcolumns do not vary greaily due to the elimination of large numbers of the smaller trees as unmerchantable.

"Average d. b. 11., inches." Average diameter breast high, or diameter meas. ured outside the bark 412 feet above the ground. All trees and dominant trees as explained above.

" Average height, feet.” Total height of the tree from average ground level to tip of tree. All trees and dominant trees as explained above.

“Volume, peeled wood per acre.” “Cubic feet."—total merchantable volume in cubic feet per acre, solid wood content, exclusive of bark. Cords "number of stacked cords per acre, peeled wood in 4-foot sticks. A cord of stacked tupelo wood (4x4x8 feet) is estimated to contain 75 cubic feet of solid wood.

“Average annual growth, (ubic feet per acre.” This is the total cubic feet per acre divided by the total age of the stand in years.

APPLICATION OF THE TABLE In applying the tabular figures to large acreages of second-vrowth tupelo it should be kept in mind that they were based on small selected areas more densely stocked than the average acre. It is therefore not safe to assume that under average conditions an entire tract will produce at the rates given. Here and there in every swamp there are likely to be openings up to several acres in extent which have only scattered young trees; since no two swamps are alike, and for that matter no two “forties”, proper allowance for these blanks can be made only after an examination of each individual tract for which the growth is being estimated. Over and above this allowance for open land, a reduction of the vields per acre as appearing in the tables must be made in calculating growth on more than selected acres. It is probable that such reduction of the yields per acre as appearing in the tables must be made in in logging to obtain a full stand of second-growth, or unless artificial forestation of all openings can be plannel. Very little is yet known about either of these measures in the (ypress-tupelo type. TABLE 2-Preliminary volume table for tupelo gum-Lower Atchafalaya River

Basin, southern Louisiana, 1926'

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Volume includes peeled stem above a 1-foot stump to a top-diameter inside bark of 3.5 inches.
Block indicates extent of basic data.
i To express table values in cords, divide by 75.


Table 2 gives the volume in cubic feet of solid wood (without bark) of second-growth tupelo trees of various heights and diameters. Such tables are of value in estimating stands, and were of course necessary in calculating the volume per acre of stands of different ages.

In table 2 the total height means the height from the ground to the extreme tip of the tree crown, and not to the limit of merchantable material in the stem. D. b. h. is diameter breast high, or 412 feet from the ground, outside the bark. The cordwood converting factor was not obtained from any actual measurement of the solid contents of stacked cords, since tupelo was not being cut into cordwood anywhere in the region studied, and will of course vary somewhat with the size of the trees piled in any one stack. However, since cords are at best a very rough measure, varying with many conditions, a flat figure for material of all sizes seemed all that can be assumed.


Comparison of the yields of Tupelo and of the four chief species of southern pine show that tupelo, although badly outstripped in early growth by all of the pines except longleaf, in later years exceeds or practically equals all except loblolly.

Southern pine pulpwood (unpeeled) in 1926 is worth $5 to $9 a cord f. o. b. mill, and tupelo cord-wood should be equally valuable at mills manufacturing the better grades of paper.

With cypress-tupelo cut-over lands producing a cord or more per acre annually of valuable pulpwood, their retention in private ownership as a paying investment does not seem the doubtful proposition it has been considered by many operators.

Mr. WHITTINGTON. What sort of reforestation is in your cypress area?

Mr. KEMPER. Tupelo gum.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Is there any regrowth of cypress?

Mr. KEMPHR. It does not do much. The tupelo grows so much faster that it tops it and crowds it out.

Mr. WHITTINGTON. I appreciate that; but I was just wondering if the situation was any different in the Lower Atcha falaya than anywhere else.

Have you any reforestation or regrowth of cypress coming along !

Mr. KEMPER. Only in a few spots. I do not attach much value to the reforestation of cypress, because other quicker growing timbers will take their place.

The CHAIRMAN. The facts are, it takes 150 years to grow a cypress tree of commercial value. The tupelo and those others you can grow very rapidly.

Mr. KEMPER. I have cut a landmark 73 years old out of a cypress tree hardly bigger than my thigh, but I think it was a defective tree. At any rate, the cypress grows slowly, and the rapid-growing timber crowds it out.

I just want to quote here from an article in the Lumber Trade Journal of November 15, 1926. It is "A preliminary study of the growth and yield of second-growth tupelo gum in the Atchafalaya basin of southern Louisiana”, by E. W. Hadley, Assistant Silviculturist, Southern Forest Experiment Station. I will not attempt to read from it, but he took numbers of acres of tupelo gum and measured them, and he has a table here as to what its gain is at 20 years, 25, and 30, and on up to 50, its growth, you understand. In general, probably every acre that is in timber in the Atchafalaya Basin can expect at a very modest figure a cord a year growth.


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