National Geographic : 1963 Jan
forest had been stripped and brush burned so that the red soil showed like a raw wound. "I've spent my life trying to convince my countrymen that we should set aside forest preserves before it is too late. I remember my first encounter with wanton destruction of all this natural beauty. It was in 1933. There was a wood where I used to go to study orchids and birds. An orchid, Houlletia brocklehurstiana, covered the forest floor with a dark yellow carpet. I have never seen anything like it since; there were thousands of flowers, and the fragrance was such that you seemed to be in a closed room that had just been sprayed with perfume. "One day I heard that the owner was going to cut down the forest. I hurried to see him and asked why. 'To grow aipim,' he said. That is the 'tame' or nonpoisonous variety of mandioca, which produces farinha, the coarse flour used in so many Brazilian dishes. I asked him how much he expected to get for his crop of aipim; he said he should Ruschi goes fishing for hummingbirds. At lower left he surveys the forest for pros pects. At left and below he slowly probes with a hookless 30-foot aluminum rod.