September 18, 2015
- as seen by -Gleb Raygorodetsky @Archipelago of Hope@ArchipelagoHope
Just ahead of us, a stealthy bat zips across a narrow trail winding through the thick foliage of a ten-year-old fallow – a field left to return to the forest after a year of cultivation. A moment later, we come eye-to-eye with a large green snake (likely a red-tailed racer) wrapping its sleek and muscular emerald coils around the expiring bat. Before backing away to leave the contented snake with its late breakfast, I snap a few shots of this jungle feast.
I am following Dr. Prasert Trakansuphakon on a visit to a Karen village Huay Hin Lad Nai in Chiang Mai Province, Northern Thailand, while collecting material for my upcoming book Archipelago of Hope: Learning about Climate Change from Indigenous Peoples. We are here to learn about the challenges and opportunities faced by local practitioners of shifting cultivation – rotational agriculture (RA). Our snake and bat encounter is a good example of the role fallows play in maintaining local biodiversity.