The Living Edens "TEPUIS" Behind The Scenes ...The STORY ..Page 12 of 13

The Making of the Tepuis Film : "The Living Edens : The Lost World"
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The first thing one notices is that Roraima, like other Tepuis, is a botanical paradise; almost every plant you see on Roraima is only known from this one bleak mountain top. Among the rocky labyrinths, areas of flat rock and boggy depressions, there is little to cling to, except shallow soil or tiny rock crevices. It's a harsh environment where temperatures can soar and then drop to freezing, and where sudden storms bring fierce winds and flash floods. Yet there are many fragile and beautiful species of plant that seem to thrive, some of them bearing flamboyant, colourful flowers.

Stegolepis guianensis, summit of Roraima
Plant community, summit of Roraima
Heliamphora nutans, Summit of Roraima
Stegolepis guianensis
Plant community

Heliamphora nutans

The plants of Roraima are specialists in the art of survival. In order to cope with nutrient poor soils, carnivorous plants like sundews, bladderworts, pitcher plants, and even a bromeliad species all supplement their diet by trapping and digesting insects. Other species have developed thick waxy leaves to help retain water when temperatures soar. Orchids, so successful in colonizing such environments, are plentiful here, with flowers ranging from large and showy, down to the size of a pin head.

Crossing the summit of Roraima is not an easy task. Between me and the northern prow were several miles of cliffs, loose rock, and deep canyons, but I wanted to satisfy a twenty nine year old challenge. Walking across the ancient sandstone, one can see the process of erosion that formed this place in action. In places, layers of sedimentary sandstone have worn away, exposing fossil ripple marks, suggesting that the summit of Roraima was perhaps, back in Precambrian times, the bed of a shallow lake. Everywhere, rain water collects in deep pools, its course channelled along furrows, the embryos of deeper crevices, cracks and canyons that form a complex network of barriers hampering progress on foot in any direction. Some of the sedimentary layers of sandstone are softer than others, and it is these that have eroded more quickly, producing amazing rock shapes, and exposing layers of quartz crystals.

Adrian Warren filming from the Prow of Roraima

My route led me due north through the labyrinths of rocks; following the course of streams of water stained golden by plant tannins; across bleak, windswept areas of flat rock where the delicate pink colour of the sandstone has been blackened by a coating of surface algae and fungi; across wide gullies filled with other worldly plants; until, finally, only a few rocky crevices separated me from my goal. Finally, just a few more steps would take me to the very tip of Roraima's prow. It commands an extraordinary view, looking north across hundreds of miles of unbroken forest in Guyana. Looking vertically down I could see the ridge we had climbed thirty years before. It reminded me of the thrill of my first experience in a place where no human had been before. It also reminded me of some of the scientific discoveries of that first expedition.

Adrian Warren filming from the Prow of RORAIMA

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Eversole Research Collection (ERC): The Life of James Crawford Angel:
Discoverer of the World's Tallest Waterfall — Angel Falls

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