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Lessons from a young forest

If you are excited by the wilderness, then the image of Brazil in your mind is likely to be that of the Amazonian rain forest. That means leaving out an entire section of the rainforest — the Atlantic rain forest, writes Bharati Chaturvedi

tech reviews Updated: Sep 28, 2008 23:33 IST

If you are excited by the wilderness, then the image of Brazil in your mind is likely to be that of the Amazonian rain forest. That means leaving out an entire section of the rainforest — the Atlantic rain forest.

Many of the better known cities are on the Altantic coast of Brazil — Sao Paolo and Rio, for example. All these areas were on the coast, and were where the came in the 17th century. Later, expansion implied cutting the forest. As a result, some of the biggest cities in the world have simply sprung out of the rainforest.

As far as the rainforest goes, however, that's been bad news, because it's been degraded. But an example in Brazil shows how exactly you can look to a green future, instead of lamenting the past. The Parque das Neblinas defines this movement. Originally, the area was planted with eucalyptus trees for pulp for a paper mill. Now, the unfilled eucalyptus trees stand as a minority amidst the rest of the vegetation, only 15 years old. In fact, the eucalyptus actually has become part of the ecology, offering creepers a trunk to climb on, and ants a highway to traverse. But that is even more impressive is the value of a new forest. In this Park, scientists have discovered a new species of ant and a fish that was once considered extinct.

In India, we have a lesson to learn from Brazil. Recreate forests, even small patches of them.

If you feel for planet Earth, write to bharati.earthwatch@gmail.com