Monday, May 28, 2007

Brazilian mahogany

This Brazilian mahogany tree (Swietenia macrophylla) is only 8-10 meters away from the large African mahogany shown in the previous post. I planted it in January of 2001, along with approximately 80 other mahogany seedlings, which were donated to the Bosque by Sr. Barrosa, then administrator for SUDAM (Agency for the Development of the Amazon) here in Santarem. Later I received another donation of seedlings from Dr. Paulo Sérgio Pimentel, making for a total of approximately 200 mahoganies planted at Bosque Santa Lúcia. I need to do another headcount now that the power company has cleared 15 meters on one side of the road, an area where I had planted some of the trees. I also know that I lost many trees because of the shade factor. If I end up with 20 survivors, I'll be happy. I remember seeing five mahogany trees in Fordlândia, which had been planted in the mid-1980s. At that age they were already really quite impressive in size. Swietenia macrophylla is on the CITES list of endangered trees, thus it is prohibited to cut the species in Brazil without special permission from the federal government. They were certainly cut from the areas close to Santarém long ago. Some of the neighbors at Bosque Santa Lúcia, people who have lived all their life there, tell me that they have never seen a mahogany. That makes me feel good knowing that the tree has made a comeback, if nothing else a few sample trees.

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