The next time you're in Iquitos, Peru, be sure not to miss the Canopy Walkway. It's almost half a mile long and over 100 feet in the air! A series of swinging bridges and tree-bound platforms, the Walkway allows you to enter the world of the rainforest canopy, that layer soaring above the "forest floor" and the "understory", and just within the shade of the "emergent later." Most of the creatures in the rainforest live in this layer, which means it has the greatest diversity of life on the planet, and makes for a fabulous stroll!
But in case you don't have plans to go to Peru soon, how about a little video taste of what it's like? You can take your own stroll right here on your computer...
The Odyssey is grateful to the JASON Project and EDS for sharing this multi-media rainforest content.
The JASON Project takes students on annual scientific "expeditions" via the Internet,
designed to excite and engage students in science and technology, and to motivate and provide professional development for teachers. These expeditions have gone to the oceans of the Guaymas Basin, the geysers of Yellowstone, and more. The 1999 expedition took students to the rainforests of Peru, where they captured this content.
We encourage you to take advantage of future expeditions by visiting their website at
EDS is a professional services company helping companies and governments leverage information and technology use. They are hosting this rainforest content on the Web.
Simply click through on the numbers of the parts you want to check out on the map below.
The video clips may take up to a minute to install. If you get a message saying your computer
doesn't have QTVR, click here to get it, free!
Source:Rainforest Action Network
Rainforests cover 2% of the Earth's surface, or 6% of its land mass, yet they house over half the
5 to 10 million plant and animal species on Earth.
There are over 300 species of trees in a tiny 2.5 acre area near the ACEER facility.
Rainforests are being destroyed at rate of at least 50 million acres a year, an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland combined.
Tropical rainforests are the Earth's oldest living ecosystems. Fossil records show that the forests of Southeast Asia have existed in more or less their present form for 70 to 100 million years.
Seventy percent of the plants identified by the National Cancer Institute as useful in cancer treatment are found only in the rainforest. Drugs used to treat leukemia, Hodgkin's disease and other cancers come from rainforest plants, as do medicines for heart ailments, hypertension, arthritis and birth control. Yet fewer than 1% of tropical forest species have been thoroughly examined for their chemical compounds.
What can you do?
- Act locally!
Greenpeace has a great website on saving old-growth forests.
Visit the Lunatree website to learn how you can help the Headwaters Forest in California.
- Think globally!
Rainforest Action Network has a list of seven simple things you can do to help conserve tropical rainforests worldwide.
- Why not visit the Canopy Walkway yourself?
The Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER) Foundation is dedicated to the conservation of the rainforest using the most powerful tool available - education. Focusing on four central issues, history, ecology, conservation and community integration, ACEER sponsors a variety of programs such as teacher training and rainforest field trips to promote international and local involvement in these issues.
Thousand of people visit the facility every year, touring the canopy walkway and the ethnobotanical garden, bringing home a heightened appreciation of the jungle and a better understanding of its issues. Check them out at www.erri.psu.edu/web/aceer.htm
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