Forest Stumps

An Activist’s Bulletproof Vest May
Save Neither Her Nor the Amazon

‘They’re going to kill me.’ Nilcilene Miguel de Lima, who heads a group of small producers deep in Brazil’s Amazonas State, sounds pragmatic when speaking about how she expects her life to end. Given Brazil’s sad record protecting the lives of activists in the region, her words have a sobering, prophetic ring to them. She also sounds undaunted, despite the already many attempts on her life.
Wearing a bullefproof vest 24/7 and having a personal security detail, Nilce’s determined to defend the people of her village, Lábrea. She’ll need lots of luck, better than many like Chico Mendes, the legendary rubber-tapper leader born in Acre State like her and assassinated in 1988, and environmentalists João Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and wife Maria do Espírito Santo, ambushed and killed a year ago next May.
Those who contracted their killers remain for the most part at large. Along with the world’s greatest flora and fauna diversity and its largest rainforest, the Amazon is littered with the bodies of many who stood up to illegal loggers, land grabbers, big landowners and drug traffickers. So the odds are not particularly stacked on her favor.
Neither they are on the side of preservationists and those who advocate for the estimated 20 million people who make the jungle their homes, Continue reading

Rainforest Mezzanine

Gold Threatens Slice of Amazon
& Crowdfunding Saves Another

A gold rush in Peru is the latest threat to the Amazon Rainforest, as record prices attract speculators.
But in Ecuador a $116 million trust fund has preserved hundreds of square miles from oil exploration.
The most entertaining news about the forest, though, is the discovery that, not unlike most theaters and arenas in the world, it too has vantage observation points.
So step right in for the show is about to begin. Between ground floor and the nose-bleed section, here are…
THE BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE
Between its high treetops and the 20-inch decaying-matter thick floor, the rainforest has a previously overlooked layer: call it a luscious mezzanine.
While the majority of the canopy leaves falls to the forest’s floor, a great many get trapped mid-air by the almost-invisible filaments of the fungus Marasmius, which provides room and board to insects, Continue reading