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Eco-tourism saves the Amazon rainforest

[Image of tree]

© TK Boyd 03/07

This page is about a ceiba tree. The picture above has been massaged to make the tree stand out from the forest.... but only the colors have been tweaked... the tree really does tower above its neighbors as you see in the photo.

The tree is on the Peruvian Amazon, just NE of Iquitos. It is the "anchor" of www.explorama.com's luxury retreat, Ceiba Tops.

It is very difficult to convey how vast it is.... Just the epiphytes would constitute a small woodland in different circumstances. I would GUESS-timate that the branches spread over a circle of at least 80' in diameter, height in the 120' region... and I am trying to be conservative.

I've put out enquiries for accurate measurements from someone who may have them.

Below, you can see the base of the tree. The black marks above the picture show you how wide the trunk is there, and the marks below show the extent of the butresses at the height of our superb guide's chest. Compare the "little" tree just in front of the ceiba with what you can see of the ceiba. Then notice that the "little" tree's trunk is as thick as Lucio's head, and at least 25 feet high..

[Image of base]

© TK Boyd 03/07

When you look up into the canopy of the tree, you see not only the tree but the complex community of epiphytes living on it, and the organisms living on them. This one tree would provide a lifetime's study. Many of the epiphytes would be "large" plants in any other context. Note that you can easily see at least two places where one type of epiphyte ceases to grow. It is likely that these boundaries are defined primarily by the plant's ability to balance the need to raise water with the rewards of being above the other plants seeking the sun. In the Amazon, the fact that everyone is always eating and being eaten is exceptionally clear. (Especially to tourists who have forgotten their DEET around dusk!)

[Image of tree top]

© TK Boyd 03/07

And finally....
[Panorama of tree]

© TK Boyd 03/07

(If the whole image won't fit on your screen, the please adjust the shape of your browswer's window. I.e., if you are in the "maximised" state, change to "restored" (i.e. user-controlled, not filling your whole screen), and alter the ratio of your browser window's width and height.)

As devastating as the photos of clear-cutting are, a different threat to the rainforest is also significant. Giants like this magnificent ceiba are selectively culled. Certain species are selectively culled. You still see "rainforest" as you travel the river, but it is a poorer, diminished rainforest. Rare species are common here, and common species rare. Rubber trees grow at about 7 to the acre. Take a few of them out, and now the distance between any two remaining trees of a given species may preclude pollination.

Take a trip to see these beauties while you still can. See the page with details of my itinerary for details.

External links to information on ceibas....

What Wikipedia has to say.el

Another Wikipedia entry, this under "kapok"el (The kapok is in the same genus as this tree, if not the same species. Kapok was an important commercial fibre before synthetics came along.)

Ceiba Foundation (Tropical Habitat Conservationel (I don't know much about these people... but their site was interesting.)

Other photos for your enjoyment....

Information and photos about how our travelling needs were met
Maps showing where we went; details of itinerary
Photos drawn from non-jungle parts of the trip
= = = You are on the "A monumental tree" page.
An inspiring story- Amazon Medical Project

Page and photos © TK Boyd 03/07. Click here to contact him.

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