A study by conservationists has found that changing attitudes to deforestation by fashion-conscious logging firms has led to the curious spectacle of the almost total denuding of the Brazilian treeline, apart from a thin north-south strip which is trimmed back enthusiastically at the first sign of it spreading.
‘The Brazilian rainforest was for thousands of years a wonder of the natural world, but if you look at the Amazonian coverage these days, it’s pretty thin on the ground,’ said environmental expert Brian Mottram. ‘In retrospect, there’s perhaps a certain inevitability to it. We’ve been exfoliaging enthusiastically since the 80s and it’s no surprise that it’s almost all been stripped back. Seeing what’s left is like looking at a young virgin rainforest – it just feels wrong.’
The modern-day Brazilian outlook is indeed a far cry from the glory days of the 70s when the rainforest was allowed to flourish abundantly. ‘It’s a terrible shame, really, that people can’t just let a good natural display of flora grow,’ said Mottram. ‘Myself, I had the good fortune to be a frequent explorer into the jungle interior back in the day, and things were very different then – you couldn’t see the wood for the trees. You could lose yourself for weeks in there, rummaging around in the dense undergrowth in search of the elusive Amazon delta. And somehow I always emerged with plant matter between my teeth.’
Mottram was particularly critical of the modern practice of areas of razed Brazilian forest being given over to jewellery displays – or Brajazzling, as it’s known. ‘Ah well, fashions come and go, I suppose,’ he conceded. ‘These days, people seen almost ashamed to have a decent forest sprouting all over, but me – I’ve never forgotten the steamy allure of the bush.’
rickwestwell (hat-tips to Sinnick, pere floza and Golgo13)
6th June 2011