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The crisis of the rainforest began a century ago when it was discovered to be a source of rubber. This brought commercial interests into collision with this complex ecology – its plants,its animals and its peoples. At the height of the rubber boom in the early years of this century, a young American, John Yungjohan, struggled for survival as a rubber cutter. The diaries he kept have recently come to light and have been edited by Sir Ghillean Prance of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, England, one of the foremost botanical gardens in the world. Dr. Prance is a leading expert on the rainforest.
The diaries were written from 1986 to 1906, the height of the rubber boom. are especially poignant now since the rubber cutters are fighting to preserve something of the original forest against the ravages of the indiscriminate destruction which still ignores the true wealth of the region – its almost incomprehensible variety of species. It is a tale of humanity and the natural order working together in the midst of greed and ignorance. Ghillean Prance enhances the text with his own contemporary photographs and identifies the fungi, plants and animals which are mentioned in the pages of the diaries.