Chain Saws Invade Eden

Vast, pristine forests in South America's sparsely populated Guyanas ought to be safe. Not so.

From high atop a massive bald rock called the Voltzberg, visitors to Suriname can look in awe at the same sight that greeted explorer Sir Walter Raleigh 400 years ago: an emerald forest that seemingly stretches to infinity in all directions. Even though the world has 11 times as many humans as it did in Raleigh's day, the north coast of South America still contains one of the largest unbroken tracts of tropical forest left in the world. Fewer than 50,000 people live in a natural kingdom larger than California that encompasses nearly all of Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana and...

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