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Foundation Supports UF Research On Cypress Trees To Reduce Harvests From Native Forest

Chuck Woods (352) 392-1773 x 281

Donald Rockwood, (352) 846-0897
John A. Marshall, (561) 805-8733

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.— The Arthur R. Marshall Foundation has donated $10,000 to the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation for research on cypress trees.

“The Marshall Foundation support will greatly advance the school’s development of fast-growing, high quality cypress for commercial planting,” said Don Rockwood, professor of forestry with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and coordinator of the cypress research. “Other benefits of the genetic improvement program include assembly and preservation of genetic diversity in cypress,” he said.

John Marshall, chief executive of the foundation, said the organization is seeking a way to reduce the harvesting of native cypress from natural ecosystems. “Also, by encouraging commercial growers to plant trees that support the health of the greater Everglades region, Floridians would benefit from improved flood control, groundwater recharge and water quality as well as more wildlife habitat.”

Other benefits of the genetic improvement program include assembly and preservation of genetic diversity in cypress.

Cypress gained a well-deserved reputation in the early part of the 20th century as being an “eternal wood.” Citations about its longevity included hollow logs installed as water pipes in 1798 that were still working when removed in 1914 and shingles lasting more than 250 years.

As part of its plan to restore cypress forests to Palm Beach County, the foundation will oversee the planting of 20,000 seedlings at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, the Village of Wellington and the West Palm Beach Water Catchment Area next spring.

Founded in 1998, the foundation considers the restoration of Florida’s ancient forests and the re-establishment of sheet flow from the Kissimmee River to Florida Bay among its prime objectives. These goals were first defined by Art Marshall in his 1981 “Marshall Plan.”