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Sep 11, 2013 7:31 PM by Akeam Ashford

Trees Help Protect Louisiana Coastline

According to some estimates, the Louisiana coastline is receding at a pace of 24 square miles each year.

"We can't afford more erosion, we're already losing the size of a football field along our Louisiana coastline, we're losing the size of a football field every 38 minutes," says Environmentalist Robert Thibodeaux.

Thibodeaux says the coastline is eroding so fast because natural species like the live oak tree are dying off.

"The tree is magnificent in slowing down our storm winds that come out of the Gulf of Mexico," says Thibodeaux.

Thibodeaux says some scientist believe the slow death of the trees is due to salt water, but he doesn't feel the same way.

"One of its great characteristics is that the live oak is tolerant to salt. so I'm thinking something else besides salt has caused these old trees to die," says Thibodeaux.

Thibodeaux says the live oak tree creates a natural barrier against the hurricanes, building up soil around its roots. Over the years, Thibodeaux says thousands of the trees have died across South Louisiana, leaving the coast more susceptible to erosion and flooding.

As a way top combat the problem, Thibodeaux founded 'Acorns Of Hope', a non-for-profit organization responsible for planting trees along the coastline. Every year, his group plants more than 2,000 trees in areas hardest hit by storms.

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