150 Kincaid Lane, Boyce, Louisiana  71409

September 18, 2007

Mr. Lee Scott, CEO
Wal-Mart Sores, Inc.
Bentonville, AR  72716-8611

Dear Mr. Scott:

On behalf of the Executive Committee of the Louisiana Society of American Foresters (LA-SAF), I urge you to review and rescind your decision not to accept cypress mulch grown or produced from Louisiana.  The Society of American Foresters (SAF) is the national association that represents professional foresters with at least a B.S. degree in forestry from a university that has a recognized and accepted forestry curriculum.  SAF accredits the forestry curriculum in universities, providing the basis for a credible and comprehensive forestry education.  Our state society has over 350 professional members from SAF. 

Louisiana cypress forests cover over 800,000 acres in Louisiana, mostly on private ownerships in low, swampy areas.  Timber operations produce the largest amount of agricultural income in Louisiana.  The value of the forest products is important to the individuals who own the land, as well as to the general economy in Louisiana. 

Forest management on these properties actually improves as economic value is gained from products such as mulch.  We have excellent, voluntary Best Management Practices (BMP) for forestry that are observed to a very high degree.  Logging operations are monitored, and every complaint is investigated and resolved.  Compliance with BMP standards in Louisiana is approximately 95%.  Those logging contractors who refuse to comply with the BMP’s are ostracized from the forestry community and are insignificant to the overall picture.   

We urge you to send your representatives to Louisiana to observe these operations and the effects of past timber harvesting operations in cypress areas to see for yourself that the Louisiana timber industry is acting in a responsible manner with regards to our environment.  We recommend you contact the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the LSU Agricultural Center, and the Louisiana Forestry Association to develop the ground rules to a long-term solution that ensures ecological integrity of cypress areas while promoting economic benefits from management of the resource.  Please respond at your earliest convenience.

Very truly yours,

Steven K. Templin 
2007 President - Louisiana Society of American Foresters