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Going nuts in the Amazon

An ETH Ambassadors blog by Fidel Chiriboga-Arroyo

A close encounter with a wild, valuable and potentially vulnerable giant from the Amazon.

It’s not until you get to climb up to the top of a Brazil-​​nut tree, a physically demanding task to only reach the beginning of its crown at about 40m height, that you have a glimpse of its magnitude. Being up there is realizing the completely different world you are in, a mysterious domain full of surprises, new perspectives, spaces where no other human being has been, full of life, biodiversity and functions. A glimpse of the rainforest, its immensity and secrets. Once up there, several meters long telescopic scissors are sometimes not enough to reach to a single leaf to sample from. For a minute, this changes your perspective of reality – a parallel reality under continuous threat. It’s also easy to wonder how it would be to climb even bigger Amazon tree species. Unfortunately, this is not possible in most of our study areas, as they’ve already disappeared due to unsustainable forest-​​resource and land use.

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