Apr 3, 2014

Fifty year drought

Here's a trick question that you're sure to get wrong.

Can you guess the forest type featured in the photo below:

a. Cypress tree,
b. Cabbage palm or
c. Slash pine?

Can you see the last
cypress tree still standing?
Answer:

Despite what your eyes may be telling you (i.e. b), the correct answer is a. -- a forest of cypress trees. What probably fooled you is that none of the cypress trees are currently standing, or even alive.  Frequent wildfires and a decades long drought has wiped them out (except for one -- can you see it leaning to the right on the far left?).

These two photos give a closer look at the forest floor.
Fire resistant cabbage palm (standing)
and the the cypress trees they replaced
(lying on the ground).

As bleak as this may seem, the good news is that help is near:

The Picayune Strand Restoration Project.


This particular patch of over-drained swamp could start seeing a rising water table in the coming year.

The rest of the 55,000 acres is scheduled for completion in 2018.

I see a cypress forest
(in the future twenty years)

Finally, the end of the fifty year drought is near!

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