Indian political awakening stirs Latin America, AP reports
In Ecuador, the Shuar are blocking highways to defend their hunting grounds. In Chile, the Mapuche are occupying ranches to pressure for land, schools and clinics. In Bolivia, a new constitution gives the country’s 36 indigenous peoples the right to self-rule.
Daily encounter: Houseplants
Many houseplants grown in the UK originate in tropical rainforests where the average growing temperature is similar (from 18°C). The big difference is the size each group of plants grows.
Rainforest berries: Coffee
The first coffee was drunk over a thousand years ago by Arab traders. According to legend, it was discovered by an Ethiopian shepherd who saw his goats were unusually frisky after eating the caffeine-rich coffee berries.
The high life: Epiphytes
Epiphytes grow upon or attached to a living plant, often high up in rainforest trees where there is more light compared with lower levels. Epiphytes use the host plant for support, but produce their own energy from photosynthesis and obtain moisture and nutrients from the air.
Meet the family: Aroids
The Living Rainforest has an amazing collection of rare and unusual aroids (Araceae family). The collection was donated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew several years ago and since expanded to include hundreds of plants with extraordinary diversity.
Big business: Banana
Bananas are the fourth largest crop in the world after rice, wheat, and maize. The yellow desert banana is a major export for tropical countries and one of the best selling food products in the UK.
Super-sized: Giant taro
This extraordinary plant is a staple food for over three hundred million people worldwide. Just like our potato, the corm (a swollen stem) is peeled and boiled, and eaten as an important source of carbohydrate.
The IUCN Conservation Status Explained
The IUCN conservation status records whether animal or plant species is threatened with extinction in their native home.
Underwater gardeners: Pacu
Pacu fish are one of the main distributors of tropical seed in South America. They have powerful jaws and strong teeth that can crack open hard rainforest nuts and take them to new locations. This process is crucial to rainforest survival through diversity and regeneration.
Shell Shock: South Asian Box Turtle
Thousands of south Asian box turtles are hunted every year in Southern Asia to meet huge demand for food and the international pet trade, as well as for prized ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine. The wild population now risks extinction, worsened by their slow reproduction that cannot replace those being taken fast enough.
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