Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests are found throughout Latin America from Mexico to south-western Brazil and northern Argentina. Dry forest is the world’s most threatened tropical forest due to its frequently fertile soils being suitable for agriculture, so it has been destroyed across most of its former range.
DRYFLOR is a network of researchers and conservationists from eight Latin American countries and led from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Currently funded by the Leverhulme Trust, DRYFLOR aims to improve the understanding of the flora and to promote the conservation of tropical dry forests throughout Latin America.
As part of DRYFLOR’s goals to raise awareness about dry forests, we made a short video with the aim to reach as wide an audience as possible. The outline of the story told in the film was developed by all the DRYFLOR partners, and the film was delivered by Bolivian director and artist Hugo Cuéllar and Scottish producer Martha MacDiarmid of the Leith-based animation company, Red Kite.
It was a new experience for us to be involved in the production of an animated movie we were led through the process by the experienced and professional Red Kite team . They patiently led us through secrets of script writing, which was the first stage of the process, all the way to recording voiceovers in Spanish, Portuguese and English. Underlying the whole process was a dialogue with Hugo to make sure that his beautiful drawings were scientifically accurate, depicting plants and animals that are truly characteristic of tropical dry forest.
It was a difficult task to show all the wonders of dry forest and the challenges it faces in 3 minutes but our aim was to make it short enough so anybody can afford the time to see it.
We are delighted with the response to the film, which has its global premiere in March in Brazil at a symposium, “Beyond the Amazon: conservation and biodiversity of tropical dry biomes” organised by DRYFLOR. Since then it has already had over 22,000 views across all language versions, most in Latin America – a high number for a scientific film.
Please take a look at the video, share it with your friends, and spread the word that there is more in the tropics than rain forest!