In the dark days of the 1980s vast tracts of the Amazon disappeared every year, the trees sold for furniture production and the naked land converted into cattle pasture. International campaigns and the brave struggle of local activists eventually led to reserves being set up in which native people could harvest forest nuts, herbs and fruits without cutting down the trees.
The fruits of the forest such as acai berries, cacao and passion fruit have proven such a hit with healthy eating enthusiasts that the business is booming, attracting the attention of big international food companies. Could the reserves turn out to be a victim of their own success? Could the forest’s natural bounty be over-exploited? Peter Hadfield travels along the Amazon to meet the local people trying to balance their livelihood with the health of the forest.
Producer: Alasdair Cross.