| ||Before flowering in a spectacular manner, this tree in the Guyanese forest loses all its leaves. Botanists gave it a scientific name, Tabebuia impetiginosa. Brazilians call it pau d’arco (arc wood) or ipê roxo and Argentineans call it lapacho. It can be found in the humid tropical forests from Mexico to Argentina. It is very hard and its wood does not float. It is also known across South America for its medicinal uses. In this ocean of greenery, the Tabebuia’s isolated flowering shows this species’ weak density. Conversely to the temperate forests that can provide homogeneous populations ofone or only a few species of trees such as pine, oak and beech grove plantations, tropical forests contain thousands of vegetal species. French Guiana has 5.500 different plants including over a thousand trees. Over 300 different tree species can be found in just one hectare of forest. That is more than in the whole of Europe. With such biodiversity, it is clear that such forests cannot be exploited in the same way as other forests. Between 2000 and 2010 deforestation progressed in South America at an annual rate of 4 million hectares - an area as large as Switzerland.
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