|The Dam at Petit Saut|
In terms of natural order, this project is nothing short of a catastrophe. I had already seen the effects of flooding forest in Guiana, where I had flown over the Petit Saut reservoir, upon returning from a field mission by helicopter. An eerie but beautiful landscape of dead tree trunks reaching from newly arrived waters. My work in Amazonia has given me a new sense of perspective in the scale of the forest’s vitality, where I would collect over 300 invertebrates in 1m2 of leaf litter (and who knows how many microorganisms). At Belo Monte, 450km2 of land will be swept under the waters. Biologists working at the site are apparently to trap and relocate as many animals as possible, a scheme which seems both naïve and futile, but also ignorant of the functional relationship that an organism has with its habitat. In addition, the damming of the river will have an impact over an area much larger than the flooded forest. In an ecosystem where life process is shaped by the ebb and flow of the river, the rise in the wet season, the fall in the dry, to remove this seasonality is to herald an era of extinction.
|Flooded Forest at Petit Saut, French Guiana|