Three indications that trees in Banna are up for sale. What’s more, the terms of trade are transforming the landscape.
- Since the 1990s, local farmers have been actively razing rain forrest to plant rubber trees. According to a local friend, it takes about 400 trees to support one family in modern style. Also, rubber trees need a lot of water and this has already changed the water table. Less obviously, this evening at dinner, another friend explained that because families can now live off their rubber tree holdings, they’ve stopped traditional cultivation. Entrepreneurial farmers are claiming this fallow land by moving in and planting other crops.
- On the road from Jinghong to Mengla, I learned about mahogany — it’s a hard wood, Chinese literati have filled their homes with mahogany furniture for centuries, and there is so little left in Yunnan that Chinese entrepreneurs are harvesting mahogany in neighboring Laos.
- This afternoon, I visited the sky tree park, and walked one of the highest treetop rope corridors in the world. High end eco-tourism in a small bit of rain forrest that has been cut off from remaining bits of rain forrest. Indeed, one of my companions mentioned that these rain forrest islands are too small and so the Central and Local governments are investing in building connections between these islands so that the animals have enough room to roam and reproduce.
Impressions of a day in the trees, Mengla, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, just northwest of the Laotion border.