ACCER Canopy Walkway, Peru 1995
Accessing the canopy in Colombia. Click to enlarge.
Canopy crusade: world's highest network of camera traps keeps an eye on animals impacted by gas project|
Oil, gas, timber, gold: the Amazon rainforest is rich in resources, and their exploitation is booming. As resource extraction increases, so does the development of access roads and pipelines. These carve their way through previously intact forest, thereby interrupting the myriad pathways of the species that live there. For species that depend on the rainforest canopy, this can be particularly problematic.
An interview with canopy expert Dr. Meg Lowman: Canopy research is key to understanding rainforests
Home to perhaps half the world's terrestrial species, rainforests are the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. However, when one strolls through the forest, this biodiversity is rarely apparent for the simple reason that most activity in the rainforest occurs in the canopy, a layer of overlapping branches and leaves some 60-120 feet off the ground. Here, a wealth of ecological niches creates opportunities for plants and animals, including species generally considered to be ground-dwellers: crabs, kangaroos, and even earthworms.
Crane's Eye View: Studying the rainforest canopy
A groundbreaking new project dedicated to studying rainforest canopies is about to enter the implementation stage in five tropical forests across the globe. The Global Canopy Program, headed by Dr. Andrew Mitchell of Oxford University, consists of the placement of giant cranes in Brazil, Ghana, India, Madagascar and Malaysia. The cranes, outfitted with observation platforms and laboratories, will swing exploratory arms freely out over the top of the canopy with enough clearance to avoid disturbing the environment or its inhabitants.
Builder of rainforest canopy walkways believes conservation can be profitable
This month's issue of The Ecological Finance Review details Greenheart conservation Company, a for-profit company that designs, builds and operates conservation based canopy walkways (canopy trails) and other nature-based attractions around the world. Operating on the premise that conservation can be economically viable, Greenheart believes that is has already become a "model of how to shift gears from an industrial to a green economy." Greenheart has developed or is developing canopy walkways in Peru, Nigeria, Madagascar, Ghana, Brazil, Guyana, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
- - - - -
Vines & Lianas
Amphibians, Reptiles, Invertebrates
- - - - -
Kids version of this section
What is the canopy?