Sunday, December 24, 2006

Rain, or the lack of

Will the Amazon actually become a desert in the future? Well, I'm beginning to think so because every year the dry season is becoming more dramatic. I should know because I haul water from Santarém to the Bosque almost every day during these dry periods in order to keep new trees and plants alive. 2005 was the year that the Amazon River almost dried up, relatively speaking, and it was the year that we went four months without a drop of rain at the Bosque. As depicted in the image, the flora is still alive because of daily watering but it took on the appearance of a desert rather than the rich, lush tropical environment associated with a "rain forest".

The last four months of this year have not been much better in terms of rainfall at the Bosque and Santarém area. It remains very dry. As I like to point out to visitors and others, our salvation was a good rain on the 10th of November. Prior to the rain, dust was several inches thick on some parts of the dirt road leading from BR-163 to Poço Branco, where Bosque Santa Lúcia is located. Like magic, all this dust turned into thick impassable mud ... and vehicle traffic was reduced to almost zero. Eventually the clay-like mud was compacted down by logging and grain trucks and now the dust continues to build up again as we wait anxiously for the rainy season to begin.

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