Amazon Saga Updated by National Geographic


The other day I was sitting in the dentist’s reception preparing myself for the gnashing sound of his little drill when I noticed the January 2007 edition of National Geographic magazine. The front cover alluded to an article on the Amazon. Eager for distraction I read as much as I could before my dentist welcomed me into his lair. While his instruments whirred and my jaw ached, I pondered the stats I’d read. During the last four decades nearly 20% of the Amazon has been hacked down in rapacious clear felling — more than in the preceding almost half century since whities discovered the place. At the going rate we’ll lose another 20% in the next 20 years. If the Amazon is the ‘lungs of the world’ we will soon be wheezing pretty severely, with 60% less breathing capacity. All for timber, meat and soy beans (used mostly as fodder for more meat), whilst displacing many of the 170 indigenous Amazonian peoples. Like the Manoki Indians seen here, inspecting their decimated hunting grounds. Fortunately NatGeo also found some good news, which always lights our fire round here. Seems the NGO, Conservation International, have been successful in partnering with Amazonian governments to create some state protected forests. Most recently they secured six-million-acres (two million hectares) in the Amapá region, adding to a Biodiversity Corridor, just one part of which inventoried over 100 mammal species and nearly 400 bird species. ::National Geographic. [Photographs by Alex Webb]

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