DixPix Photographs

     

WESTERN AMAZON

 
     
  ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS  

 

Because of its immense size and bio diversity, the ongoing destruction of the Amazon Rainforest is a problem of global significance.  Most of the devastation is occurring farther east, the western Amazon having had some protection due to its remoteness and difficulty of access.  Nevertheless, it is being chewed up at an ever increasing rate.

 

In a small plane, one may still fly over the western Amazon for hours and see a continuous green forest, broken only by the occasional river or flowering tree. Click to see big picture (640x454 pixels; 152 KB)
But wherever there is a navigable river or a road on sees destruction working its way outward from these axes.  This is a Google Earth view of a tributary to the Napo River in Ecuador, but  it could have been from any of countless locations.  The larger animals also disappear from such areas. Click to see big picture (504x480 pixels; 71 KB)
Logging is certainly one of the culprits, and as most of the region is not fertilized by ash from volcanic eruptions, a mature forest typically has difficulty in re-establishing itself.  This operation in eastern Peru is likely legal. Click to see big picture (634x480 pixels; 138 KB)
But the more valuable tree species are regularly poached even in reserves and parks.  Here in westernmost Brazil, a tree was felled, cut into planks and carried to a nearby river. Click to see big picture (570x480 pixels; 143 KB)
At another site, the thieves are said to have been discovered butchering a valuable tree of the Chestnut Family and had to flee, leaving much of their planks behind. Click to see big picture (591x480 pixels; 159 KB)
On the Aquaytia River of Peru, loggers saw trees into plank rafts and pole these downstream many kilometers to sell at villages. Click to see big picture (640x366 pixels; 106 KB)
While on the main trunk of the Amazon rafts of tree trunks are guided down river, some even having accommodation of sorts on board. Click to see big picture (640x428 pixels; 108 KB)
The logs are headed to saw mills such as these along the river in westernmost Brazil. Click to see big picture (640x480 pixels; 98 KB)
A major part of deforestation is the result of slash and burn, with or without logging.  It can be brutal, but I have never seen in the Amazon, destruction on the scale of what is going on in Indonesia. Click to see big picture (640x418 pixels; 80 KB)
Much of the clearing is the result of poverty.  The government is happy to see families from the poorest ghettos of the big cities in Peru and Bolivia head over the mountains to try and homestead in the Amazon. Click to see big picture (459x480 pixels; 106 KB)
A section of forest is typically felled, and when dry, burned.  Here someone is trying to make a living on a piece of cleared land, but the soil is poor for farming. Click to see big picture (640x434 pixels; 151 KB)
A pregnant deer is gutted at a logging camp in Bolivia near the Brazilian border.  When a forest is first opened by a road, game is briefly plentiful, and these camps are expected to find their own meat. Click to see big picture (640x423 pixels; 123 KB)
There are restrictions on killing some of the rarer large animals, but there is no enforcement.  Here pelts are openly sold in La Paz, Bolivia.  Other species end up in the pet trade. Click to see big picture (640x464 pixels; 124 KB)
In a market near Tabatinga, Brazil, the skin of a large anaconda is offered for sale.  It is very doubtful if items like this could be legally imported into Europe of North America. Click to see big picture (640x423 pixels; 99 KB)
This statue at the entrance to the town of Pucallpa, Peru, glorifies the people who came and cleared the land. Click to see big picture (599x480 pixels; 81 KB)
Yet at another Peruvian town, San Ignacio, this statue glorifies the harmony of man and nature.  There is some ecological conscience even on the Amazon frontier. Click to see big picture (392x480 pixels; 60 KB)
But in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon, destruction is being ramped up on a far greater scale.  The oil companies have been given free reign.  Here is a gas flare beside the Rio Napo. Click to see big picture (613x480 pixels; 96 KB)
And traffic on that river is a procession of heavy equipment coming to clear the forests. Click to see big picture (640x385 pixels; 55 KB)
The Peruvian Government made a proposal to stop the destruction of its part of the Amazon in return for a monthly payment for a part of what oil would return.  There was little interest from the richer countries, some of whom host the very oil companies who are now plundering at will. Click to see big picture (640x350 pixels; 87 KB)