Reportage : The Slow History of Timber Nuquí, Chocó, Colombia - 2014

Nuquí is a small and sleepy village in the Colombian rainforest, far away from any highway; it is inhabited by around 8,000 people. Only the smallest airplanes reach this town that is located just beside the Pacific Ocean.

Dawn brings light to the day and Merlón Lerma's small boat searches its way through mangrove forests. Lerma is accompanied by his assistant, his dog, and a motor saw as he is leaving for the rainforest near Nuquí. He looks for a tree to construct a jamb for his house door. In prior decades, the residents of Nuquí used to cut down the whole forest and export large amounts of high-quality timber. The forests around Nuquí are famous for their wood. Cutting all these trees, the most valuable resource in the region, led to a destruction of nature and the disappearance of the fundamental elements of life. A number of years ago, the residents changed their minds and began to value a healthy and well-preserved forest. Currently, they only cut trees for their own use and do not export trees any longer.

Merlón Lerma leaves early in the morning with his assistant. He sails for 30 minutes in his boat to get to his destination.
The lumberjack has already decided which tree to fell. The people of Nuquí just cut the wood they need for their own use; they do not cut trees for export. They preserve the rich nature around the village.
The lumberjack Merlón Lerma
While cleaving the tree, the chain of the motor saw breaks. This working day ends at 9 am. The replacements have to be transported from the department's capital Quibdó by plane.
The cleaved parts are stored and sheltered against the rain. Lerma felled this tree to construct a door jamb for his house.
The carpenter Bictorino in his workshop in Nuquí
The town center of Nuquí is surrounded by water and rainforests. The town is next to the Pacific Ocean.
The town has three workshops for furniture and other wooden products made from the timber of the rainforest. Work is carried out by traditional techniques, although machines for cutting, whetting, and mortise are used.
The carpenter Heiner "Morrito" Zuñiga
Morrito began working with wood a number of years ago; he constructed his workshop by himself. It does not have walls; it just has a roof to protect from the rain.
Most of the work is performed by hand. This ensures a certain level of quality and individuality in the work.
A fisherman fixes his boat with wood.
The fishermen use wood from the surrounding forests.
After work, the assistant of Bictorino brings tools into his house to ensure that nobody steals them.
Everything in Nuquí is related to timber-without wood there would be no life.

This is the end, my friend ...

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