National Geographic : 1983 Jan
newly vocal groups. Politicians, still power less but less restrained than before, cease lessly attacked Ludwig as an imperialist American exploiting Brazil. And so the Jari project lost many millions of dollars. Even tually Daniel Ludwig sold it to Brazilians. Will they make a go of it? This may de pend on how well the eucalyptus does. To a visiting American forester much of it seemed to stagnate after initial spurts. If the euca lyptus plantations fail, he says, the Jari pulp mill probably will shut down for good. WHAT CAN WE CONCLUDE? A wise German ecologist, Harald Sioli, tells me that supposedly hard-headed economic decisions affecting tropical rain forests often have deeper roots than the desire to make money; there are profound emotional reasons, a de sire for power, the romantic yearning of the human species to impose itself on the world of nature. If this is so, yet another element of complexity is added to the economics and politics that affect that world's most com plex ecosystem. How can we chart its future? We can only detect trends. John Spears, the forestry adviser of the World Bank, says that since 1900 the wet tropical forest area has declined by more than half. Of about one billion hectares (40,000 square miles) left in 1980-that's the latest estimate from FAO, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization-about 12 percent will go by the year 2000, leaving I:S L ;"i".