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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Royal Grange, which is a dependence of Santa Cruz, and is especially dedicated to the cutting of royal wood, whose service is done through the king's slaves. The continuation of the road became increasingly difficult and dangerous, due to the large bypasses that had to be made, being very steep, and frequently broken with bogs. On all sides the road narrowed down, overgrown with dark undergrowth, through which streamed clear streams of fresh water.

The most complete solitude reigns here, and apart from miserable mud huts or bush cuts, the traveler finds almost nothing to remind him of man's intervention in these majestic jungles. When we descended the steep slope, out of the deep darkness of the virgin forest, we saw the small village of Sao Joao Marcos, and later a solitary but imposing farm in the valley.

On the road to Sao Paulo

The new cuttings are covered above all in the sunny high points in a short time, with incredible coating of a species of fern (Pteris caudata), which, due to the

spread on the ground of its tenacious roots, similar to our fern (Pteris aquilina), becomes weedy and is very costly to uproot. The tendency of this plant to take hold on the land as soon as it is plowed is noteworthy for the history of plant propagation. At the latitude we were now traveling, we noticed several other plants, born shortly after the forest was cut: decandra and icosandra, Scoparis dulcis, Solanum decurrens and other species of the same genus, Gronovia

Solanum

scandens, Phlomis officinalis, nob. and several species of Hyptis.

Hyptis hirsuta

In North America, the dense extensions of ferns are turned into potash, due to their large content of this substance; In Brazil, ferns have not yet been considered, and a colossal amount of wood is harvested annually, and it is considered necessary to leave the ashes for compost after burning.

In Retiro, a poor farm near Sao Joao Marcos, in a marshy valley, surrounded by wooded hills, we spent the first night in the open. The araponga had ceased its shrill screams, the cicada army circled in a continuous monotony as night

Cicada tympanum

darkened with the frog's timpane notes resounding, the capoeira's lament and the caprimulgas's cry. Impressed by the continually recurring sensations, we felt, in the lonely jungle, transported by a singularly solemn fog, which became even more alive, as the firmament shone in all the splendor of the southern constellations over the blackness of the woods, and millions of trees’ glittering fireflies roamed the earth in bright circles; after all, a violent downpour covered everything in

Lampyra noctilucus, firefly

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