Once Upon a Time ,Wild Deer , Elephants and Tigers would have roamed these Hills now overtaken by domesticated Cattle and numerous “Crying Trees “.
The Para Rubber Tree ( English), Hevea brasinlliensis ( Scientific name) was first planted in India by the British from the Americas ( Brazil in South America) in the early 20th Century .They felled the Naturally Occurring Rainforests and replaced them with Rubber Plantations to harvest Natural Latex. ( this act was replicated across South East Asia as well )
A Rubber Plantation on the slopes of the Western Ghats in District Pathnamthitta, Kerala, India as it exists today after over 100 years.
This Plantation is close to the Konni Elephant Rescue Centre mentioned in previous blogs titled BABY ELEPHANTS and MAMMOTH BATH.
The Rubber Trees in Plantations across Kerala are native to the Amazonian Rain forests and a rich Natural Source of Rubber.
The trees are wounded by repeated Cuts to release a Milky latex which is collected in Coconut Shells.
Is it a wonder they are called “Caotchoue” by the Native Americans which literally translates to Crying Tree.
As you can see in the picture above there are several angled cuts on the Trunks of the trees.
Vast Lands which once supported an astonishing range of Flora of Fauna were laid waste and replaced by Rubber Plantations to commercially harvest Natural Rubber which oozes from the Core of these Crying Trees.
The Milky Latex is collected in little Cups made from Coconut Shells.
First the Rainforests were felled and replaced by Plantations, then the forest dwellers like the Elephants chained and finally the Trees were made to Bleed.
I understand that the closest competitor to Natural Rubber is Synthetic Rubber which is derived from Petroleum. Thus when the prices of Crude Oil fall so do the prices of Rubber.
As we all know Crude Oil prices are scraping the bottom of the Barrel and that spells a death Knell for the Rubber Plantations as well.
Is this the Revenge of the Bleeding Trees ?