Virtual Museum of Canada
Jardin botanique de Montréal 
Centre for Forest Research

Transcription of video clip The raft of the summits

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Photo of the researchers' camp, in the middle of the equatorial forest, in Gabon, in 1999

© Michel Labrecque
Le camp des chercheurs, isolé de tout

This is a picture of the camp where we live.

We're in the middle of the equatorial forest, lost. 200 km around, there isn't a village, nothing.

We're there to study the tropical forest, but especially the tropical canopy. We're also there to gather plants, and bring back things for our collections at the botanical garden.

So, gathering plants is really washing plants, because... we can't bring back plants that would have the slightest soil particle or earth.
So this implies washing, washing and washing...

Photo of a hot air dirigible

© Michel Labrecque
The hot air dirigible

Each morning, there is a departure of this hot air dirigible balloon. And so, we have to inflate it, unfold it, inflate it.

And after that, fold it again to store it so that it isn't exposed to the sun for the rest of the day.

It always is extraordinary, it's always very touching to see this big bug fly up in the sky, all coloured, and fly over the tropical forest.

Photo of the raft of the summits, laid on top of the equatorial forest's canopy

© Michel Labrecque
The raft of the summits

The dirigible balloon is used to move this big "Raft of the summits", which is a big net about 600 square metres, that is laid on the top of the tropical forest.

Thus, we can, from this raft of the summits, work to study plants, to harvest things.

Another way of studying the forest is by surfing with an helium balloon, that is held by weights. When we jettison the weights, well we fly away.
However, we are attached by a cable, and we get to observe the forest under every angle with... with a very strong emotion.

And the pleasure of seeing the tropical forest, from our bubble, and flying over in this way the extraordinary beauties of the tropical forest.

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