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Tropical Rainforest Environments

Projects set in tropical rain forests are subject to very similar conditions we find in forests of higher latitudes but with obvious variations:

  • dense trees and underbrush - tough going
  • thick canopy - poor GPS coverage
  • line cutting barely possible, and slow going
  • poor access - river travel helpful
  • wildlife encounters unavoidable and dangerous
  • local guides are recommended
  • bottled water is essential
  • frequent rainfall events
  • flash floods in low areas
  • don't go in the water

The following photographs will illustrate how an experienced team is capable of handling this environment.



Crew Transport to the nearest village

Crew Transport

The rest of the way is by river. Keep your arms and legs inside the boat at all times. Caymen aligators and piranha abound in these rivers.

River Route To Project Area

Scale is difficult to judge, but these trees are at least 50 meters tall.

Dense Vegetation



Main Camp

High banks protect the nearby village and camp from flooding. Boats are tied up at the water's edge. (Right)

Crew Welcoming Committee

All the amenities - just check the roof for spiders occasionally.

Field Office in Camp

Local guides provided line cutting and wildlife lookout.

Line Cutting Crew




River Access Only

On the Survey Lines

An example of their handywork. It was simply impassible in any other direction.

Jungle Cutline

Some light managed to filter through the canopy. The gloves came off after the first downpour which lasted 10 minutes. Torrential rain 4 or 5 times a day. No way to keep dry.

Hipchain visible

The camp and village were on the south side of the river, while the only road access began on the north side. Notice the native dugout is still used by the locals.

River Crossing to Village

Once across, truck transport was possible in the open areas. Locals build shelters along the road and are happy to share what they have.

Noon Day Sun

Several kilometers from the main camp, an emergency shelter was assembled in case the crew ran late and could not travel back before dark. Even in the truck, the road conditions made for slow going.

A welcome clearing

Beyond the river, the trees made way for the savannah plain. Grass fires seem to self-generate in the heat and dryness. The road is a worn track ahead. No problem for GPS here.

Open Savannah

Some areas of the project could not be accessed round-trip in a single day, so a remote camp was erected 4 hours out. Surveying would continue near the camp for as long as there was daylight, then overnight. Surveying could continue for another day or two in this way before returning to the main camp. Additional batteries for the gravity meter were required. The guides did an excellent job of setting up and taking down the remote camps.

Remote Camp




Dense Growth


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Last Modified on Mon 10-Oct-2016

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