Rainforest Guardian: Skyscraper Protects Amazon from Fire

The idea of building skyscrapers in the Amazon sounds like the stuff of nightmares, provoking mental images of vast deforestation and destruction. But the purpose of the ‘Rainforest Guardian‘ is actually the opposite: these superstructures intend to protect the vulnerable Amazon from the threats of fire and drought, while also serving as stunning research stations.

The concept, proposed by a team of Chinese designers, features an elevated lotus-shaped platform that captures rainwater, filters it and stores it within ancillary reservoirs. These ‘aerial roots’ are capable of both sucking up excess water from the ground during rainy season, and delivering moisture during the dry season.

It would also make plentiful amounts of water available in the case of a forest fire. NASA reports that fires have destroyed 3% of the Amazon rainforest over the last 12 years, and once they start, they’re incredibly difficult to extinguish. In addition to providing water, the towers would house weather monitors that take action at the first sign of smoke.

But critics note that any construction within the Amazon would have an effect upon the ecosystem, and structures this tall would likely require deep pilings, causing a significant disturbance on the forest floor. It should also be noted that natural forest fires (as opposed to those started by humans) actually play an important role in the balance of many ecosystems. Do you think towers like these would be worth the potential risks?

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