The Jungle of the Red Spirit

2012, Nature  -  52 min Leave a Comment
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This is possibly the most primitive forest in the world. The tropical rain forest of the island of Borneo already existed 150 million years ago. It forms part of a green belt that encircles the Earth and contains animals which best hope to stay alive is to remain hidden in their green island. The jungle has more than three dimensions and in it even the plants have learnt to kill. In this kingdom, where fear reigns, no one can expect to live too long.

In this documentary, we're going to take a walk on the wild side and we're going to climb up the tree trunks, as we did thousands of years ago, guided by the "man of the forest." Borneo is the third largest island in the world. It lies in the Southeast Asia but outside of the so called "ring of fire", which means it has escaped the violent volcanic eruptions to which the nearby islands of Indonesia haven been subjected.

There, for at least 50,000 years the Earth has not trembled and that is why the enormous trees called "dipterocarps" have been able to grow and multiply until they have formed the gigantic tropical rain forest, which, until recently, was the second largest in the world after the Amazon basin.

This is a stable jungle where environmental conditions have changed very little. Constant humidity and high temperatures favor intense competition where every leaf is trying to catch the minimum ray of sunlight that would allow it to carry out its chemical processes. Rain forests like this one are responsible for 90% of all photosynthesis on this planet.

The biological diversity of the rain forests is such that on just 6% of surface area they contain 50% of all animal and plant species. But the jungles of Borneo are especially famous for the enormous number of species of the most sophisticated flower in the world - the Orchid.