“The Amazon was a separate world, an embryonic land; enigmatic and tyrannical, astonishing, disturbing, terrifying. In this monstrous forest, trees did not exist as separate entities, they materialized as a voracious and insane entanglement of vegetation. The mind, spirit, and soul became confused and one became the victim of something that gnawed at the soul. The virgin forest mounted a close guard around the victims lost in its silent, impenetrable immensity, imprisoning men, reducing them to the rank of slaves, possessing them entirely.”
Ferreira de Castro, “Virgin Forest”
To talk about the Amazon, is invariably to mention the “Green Inferno”, a vivid description coming from the époque when this vegetal fortress represented nothing else than hostility for the explores and the colons: illnesses, wild animals, untamed Indians some of which anthropophagous, such were the obstacles to be overcome when one entered the jungle.
The Amazon Forest, a sanctuary to preserve
For today’s traveler, the Amazon is a welcoming land, particularly in the areas from where mosquitoes have been eradicated...
This immense region spanning 4.8 million square kilometers, sheltering five to six million species of plant and animal life, of which only a third has been registered. It thus constitutes one of the most important reserves of biodiversity in the world and as such is an incredibly rich deposit, particularly promising to the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, chemical, bio-chemical and genetic industries…
To such an extent that from the time that rich countries began to exploit its potential (since the 1950’s) they have been pressing - in vain- for the establishment of the “internationally protected” status for the Amazon similar to that of the Antarctic.