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How the trees fall


In the Peruvian jungle, one more seasonal transition from winter to summer (or from dry season to rainy one) has taken place! The arrival of the new season was marked by torrential rains and hurricane winds with collapsing trees. These weather cataclysms have not spared the Cordillera Escalera Ecolodge. A couple of days ago, a huge tree fell on our territory. Sharp gusts of wind, the crackle of breaking large and small branches, the screams of flying birds and scattering Pichikos monkeys (of the Saguinus family) and a few moments later a sound similar to the growing peals of thunder! A huge tree more than 15 meters high and about 1 meter in diameter was spread out on the ground. Fortunately, nobody and nothing was hurt. Local residents respectfully call such hurricane winds with the sonorous and memorable word venteron. They usually say like this: – What a kind of venteron happened yesterday!

How the trees fall

But everything that does not happen in the Amazon has not only its own explanation, but also finds application in the economy. What has fallen can be lifted and put to use. Do you know why such huge trees fall at all? The Amazonian selva is a very active biological environment, in which there is a constant struggle for water, solar account and food. Some tree species, in search of water, try to spread the root system as wide as possible, without going deep into the soil. This results in the roots being close to the surface. And if the soil is wet and rocky, with strong gusts of wind, large trees with a wide crown sway and fall. In some cases, trees are eaten by insects such as termites, saw beetles, and others. And even with mild gusts of wind, the tree can crack in the very place where it was gnawed in order to build housing and eat in one. 🙂

Often trees break in half for no apparent reason. It usually means that insects have worked there. But if you observe such trees, they soon enough sprout with new shoots at the fracture site, because the plant activity in the Amazon is very high. By the way, there are tree species that are too tough for even these insects. Such trees have a fairly hard fiber and a strong-smelling resin, which scares off intruders. These characteristics make it impossible for insects to enjoy their wood and, in addition, make them valuable in terms of their use for building materials and for the manufacture of furniture.

Local residents distinguish all trees in terms of their suitability as building material into two types. Some of them call respectfully – Madeira (Spanish for a tree), which means that this type of wood is hard, resistant to moisture and will not be eaten by termites. Such a tree is suitable for housing. All other trees are classified as unsuitable for construction and they are called by the lengthy word qual-quera, which means whatever/any in translation.

As for the first, referred to as Madeira. Among such species in the San Martin region, the most common are: Huayruro with a density of 0.77 g/cm3, Mohena – 0.56 g/cm3, Cedro – 0.53 g/cm3, Capirona – 0.76 g/cm3. By the way, most of the furniture in our Ecolodge is made of Mohena wood. Our terrace and the floors of the museum are made of very hard Uairuro wood, the seeds of which deserve special attention. In Peru, they firmly believe that the Uairuro`s seeds bring good luck. That is why they are the most popular material for making souvenirs. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings are made from bright red seeds with a black dot, and they are even added to jewelry of precious materials. It is difficult to meet a tourist who has departed from Peru without a bracelet with Uairuro`s seeds carrying good luck.

The mentioned tree fell on the 13th of December – this is the beginning of a new cycle of life for this representative of the Amazonian flora. This means that something creative and useful will be made from this tree in our Ecolodge. Perhaps it will be a bench, or maybe even a sculptural composition, because the ecohotel Cordillera Escalera has always been famous among its guests for original and interesting ideas, which find their embodiment on our territory.