Attention, falling trees!
Heavy rains and strong gusts of wind early this year are shaking up our forest giants, uproot them and cause them to fall. This well-known Guianese phenomenon is called a chablis [ʃa.bli]. This is natural; just avoid being there when the weakened trees begin to fall.
Natural, yes … but when the trees fall unluckily on the trail, the trail can quickly vanish for the eyes of the visitor. There is a big chance he or she doesn’t know anymore which way to go, in order to continue the walk. A chablis intensifies the risk of getting lost. At this time of year, our vigilance is increased.
Most of the time, a small cleaning session is enough to reopen the route (with machetes). The beginning of the year, however, is for us synonymous with many more interventions and sometimes really heavy ones (with chainsaws). We aim as much as possible for the preservation of the initial journey of our trails. That means that, sometimes, we need to identify the direction of the trail penetrating the heart of the chablis. Trunks (sometimes huge) can bar access, whereas vines can obstruct the passage … Plus, it is not often that one tree needs cutting. The biggest one is often causing its neighbours to fall. In conclusion: we’ve got work to do.
In most cases, reopening the trails can be achieved by ourselves, but sometimes, given the magnitude of the work, we do not hesitate to call some colleagues from other nature reserves. This was recently the case because there were not one, but two trees blocking the trail. The first covered over 20 meters of the trail and the second no less than ten meters. So we asked material and human support through the exchange network of the Conservatoire des Espaces Naturels de Guyane. The exchanges are really valuable and thank you to Alain Alcide (RNN Grand Connétable) and Jérémie Tribot (RNN Nouragues/Connétable) for their effective raids.