Sch-Pantanal

Vic Banks, Author, D. Moses, Editor Random House (NY) $22.5 (254p) ISBN 978-0-87156-791-8
The Pantanal (Portuguese for swampland) is an immense flood plain, part of the Paraguay River Basin in western Brazil, eastern Bolivia and northeastern Paraguay. Annual torrential rains turn the region into a vast inland sea; after the floods recede it becomes a lush grassland with water holes that support an extraordinary variety of wildlife. In Brazil there are two protected reserves and huge, privately owned cattle ranches. Freelance photojournalist Banks has traveled in the Pantanal eight times since 1983. He tells a woeful story: illegal hunters, miners and commercial fishermen are stripping the region; in the surrounding high plains, farmers are using enormous amounts of agrichemicals; enforcement efforts are lax to nonexistent. While the media and environmentalists are concentrating on the tropical rain forests, grasslands are going up in smoke and a vital ecosystem is being destroyed. Banks visits officials, politicans and noted Swedish filmmaker Arne Sucksdorff in his quest for enlightenment on the Pantanal. Readers will enjoy his account of journeys in this exotic and unfamiliar region; they will quail at his description of a wild animal market in Rio. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
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