The rubber tapper starts at 4am to avoid trekking through the forest during the hottest part of the day. He walks for six hours through forest trails visiting over 100 trees in which he cuts away a small channel of bark. The latex flows into a cup for up to six hours after which the tapper returns to collect it into a pail before it coagulates. Each tree produces around five litres of latex a year. The rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis is native to the Amazon, where they grow wild and can be tapped without harm. A kilo of latex is worth more than a kilo of beef. Buying wild rubber is one way to find value in the forest remaining wild and untouched.
Photos by Juriaan Booij © Studio Swine