National

Kyoto University opens large research base in Amazon jungle

JIJI

Kyoto University has opened a large research base in the jungles of the Amazon basin in Brazil.

Previously, there had been no accommodation available on the ground for researchers from around the world studying flora, fauna and ecosystems in the area, so they had to use ships anchored far away or other facilities as their base for research.

The new research station, which opened on May 8, is expected to help such researchers conduct long-term fieldwork comfortably. The university established the base in cooperation with the state-affiliated Japan International Cooperation Agency, major Japanese trader Itochu Corp. and Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA).

The base, named Field Station, is located in the jungle along the Cuieiras River some 130 kilometers by water from Manaus, a Brazilian city in the middle basin of the Amazon River. The base covers an area of 750 square meters, and comprises a multipurpose facility and a residential building that can accommodate up to 60 people.

Mario Cohn-Haft, a U.S. researcher who has studied birds in the Amazon basin for 30 years, said that he can bring large amounts of equipment with him to the base and that the research station offers a good environment for fixed-point observations. He described the base as a five-star hotel for researchers.

Juichi Yamagiwa, president of Kyoto University, noted that the university has made achievements in the studies of rainforests in Asia and Africa, and said that the new base is expected to help further advance research to save the Amazon’s treasure trove of biodiversity.

Luiz Renato de Franca, head of INPA, suggested that Field Station may be a good location to conduct environmental education for native inhabitants, saying that the base will benefit residents living nearby.

He added that the research station is a symbol of the coexistence of mankind and nature.