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A healthy rainforest… in a nutshell

 

A chocolate-coloured, toe-shaped nut. The Brazil nut. One of the finest. Full of protein, calcium, iron, selenium; one creamy crunch and you’re reaching for another. But stop there…

…it’s time to travel with that Brazil nut, to see life as it sees it. Surf over the sea to the Southern Hemisphere and nose-dive into the steaming shadows of the largest rainforest on earth. The Amazon.

Brazil nut collecting © Michael Gunther / WWF-UKBrazil nut collecting © Michael Gunther / WWF-UK

It’s October, the start of the rainy season in northern Bolivia. Cumulus clouds are towering. The humidity is tangible. Far, far, above you, an army of bees are supping on the nectar of hundreds of custard-coloured Brazil nut flowers.

But these are no ordinary bees. They’re orchid-bees. Strong enough to lift the coiled hood of the Brazil nut flower, with an extraordinarily long tongue adapted to extract its sticky-sweet delights.

As you crane your neck to catch a view of the spiralling world above, a flower flops onto your nose. It’s a day old and is already dead. Now you must wait. Watch. Inhale. Over a year must go by for the Brazil nut’s “toes” to fatten.

You hear voices. It’s March, most of the Brazil nut pods have dropped to the ground and local men, “castaňeros”, are arriving for the wild harvest. A Brazil nut tumbles from a bulging basket. In the following months a new seedling sprouts in the light of the path.

Brazil nuts close up © Rubens Matsushita / WWF-UKBrazil nuts close up © Rubens Matsushita / WWF-UK

So what is this nut in your hand? A perfect segment of intact rainforest. Because unlike just about any other food you might pop into your mouth, this hasn’t been industrially produced or spat out from the tired ranks of a plantation. It’s a nut with a story, a history, a community’s future, a piece of intricately intact standing rainforest.

So lie back, reach out to the bowl, chomp on a Brazil nut and watch that rainforest burst into life! Ecologists and Adventurers, Katharine and David Lowrie, are the first to have run the Amazon in their world first 6,504 mile South American run. They ran for wildlands and wildlife and along the way presented to schools about the natural world, wrote ecological articles, raised money for conservation…and have written this blog!

Sky Rainforest Rescue is calling upon the public to watch the short, eye-opening video about the issues of deforestation… without blinking! See how long you can last. In the video you will also find out how small changes you can make day-to-day can help to keep the trees standing.

One small change really can make a difference.

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