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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K192: 百年巨木備受喜愛 但處境危殆 Centuries-Old Giants, Beloved but in Peril

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日英語跟讀 Ep.K192: Centuries-Old Giants, Beloved but in Peril

Wide, awkward baobab trees blend into the cityscape of Dakar, the busy capital of Senegal, almost without notice.

樹冠寬闊、姿態樸拙的猴麵包樹(或稱猢猻樹),在幾乎沒人注意的情況下,與塞內加爾繁忙首都達卡的風景融為一體。

Drivers wash a fleet of taxis parked beneath one giant tree near a freeway on-ramp. Rusting cars with open hoods are parked in a mechanic’s shop under the shade of another. A leathery trunk is a community billboard, with ads nailed to it for a plumber and an apartment for rent.

計程車司機清洗一排停在高速公路入口匝道附近一棵巨木下的計程車。引擎蓋大開的生鏽汽車則停在另一棵巨木樹蔭下的修車廠裡。粗糙的樹幹是社區公布欄,徵求水電工和公寓出租的廣告釘在上面。

Aliou Ndour stood on a crowded corner, pulled out his phone and scrolled past the pictures of friends and family to another precious photo: the baobab in his home village.

恩多站在擠滿人的角落,拿出手機,用手指滑過螢幕上親友的照片,來到另一張珍貴的相片:他老家村裡的猴麵包樹。

Fat baobabs, some more than half a millennium old, have endured across Senegal, passed over for lumber largely because their wood is too brittle and spongy for use in furniture. Baobab leaves are mixed with couscous and eaten, the trees’ bark stripped to make rope, their fruit and seeds used for drinks and oils.

胖胖的猴麵包樹在塞內加爾全國各地屹立,其中有些超過500歲,這種樹逃過砍伐,大致是因為木頭太脆太鬆軟,不能用作家具。猴麵包樹的葉子跟蒸粗麥粉混著吃,樹皮剝來做繩索,果實和種子則做成飲料和油。

Something else has helped preserve these giants: They are beloved.

另有一個因素讓這些巨木得以保存:它們受到喜愛。

“This,” said Adama Dieme, craning his neck to look up at the spread of branches of the baobab on his block, “is the pride of the neighborhood.”

迪艾米伸長脖子,仰望著他所在街區這棵猴麵包樹的樹枝伸展的幅度,他說:「這棵樹讓鄰里感到光榮。」

But baobabs, like many of the region’s trees, are in jeopardy, threatened by the same forces upending numerous facets of society — climate change, urbanization and population growth.

不過,猴麵包樹就像這區域的許多樹一樣陷入險境,受到顛覆社會諸多面向的同樣力量威脅,包括氣候變遷、都市化與人口成長。

West Africa has lost much of the natural resources once tied so closely to its cultural identity. Poaching has stolen most of its wildlife; lions, giraffes and desert elephants are sorely endangered.

西非已失去一度與其文化認同緊密相連的大半天然資源。盜獵行為竊奪了絕大多數野生動物:獅子、長頸鹿和沙漠象都瀕臨滅絕。

Huge swaths of forest are being razed to clear space for palm oil and cocoa plantations. Mangroves are being killed off by pollution. Even wispy acacias are hacked away for use in cooking fires to feed growing families.

極其大片的森林為了生產棕櫚油和種植可可樹而被夷為平地。紅樹林不敵汙染而毀滅。就連纖細脆弱的刺槐也被砍下作為烹飪用的柴火,以餵飽逐漸增加的家庭。

A recent study said climate change might be blamed for the deaths of some of Africa’s oldest and biggest baobabs. In Senegal, local researchers estimate the nation has lost half its baobabs in the past 50 years to drought and development.

最近一份研究顯示,非洲一些最老、最大的猴麵包樹死亡,可能要歸咎於氣候變遷。在塞內加爾,當地研究人員估計,該國50年來已因乾旱與人為開發而失去半數猴麵包樹。

One of the biggest developments in the country is outside Dakar, where Senegal’s president is building an entirely new city, in the middle of a baobab forest. Officials have pledged to replant any trees they raze.

塞內加爾最大的開發案之一在達卡市郊,塞內加爾總統正在一片猴麵包樹森林的中央建造一整座新城市。官方承諾要把所有連根拔起的樹種回去。

On the far edges of the development, construction workers were building new homes. The corpse of one baobab laid on the ground, a musty smell lingering at its exposed hollow interior. The smooth marks of an ax scarred its trunk.

在這開發案的遙遠邊緣,建築工人正在蓋新的住家房子。一棵猴麵包樹的殘骸躺在地上,一股霉味從暴露在外的空心木頭內部持續飄散出來。斧頭平滑的標記在樹幹上留下傷痕。

Other charred carcasses of baobabs lay nearby. A worker said those had been torched with gasoline.

另有些焦黑的猴麵包樹殘骸躺在附近,工人說都是用汽油燒過的。

“Whenever you see a baobab that has fallen down, you’re sad,” said Gorgui Kebbe, the worker.

“It’s a symbol of our country. But having a house to live in takes priority.”

工人柯柏說:「每當你看到一棵猴麵包樹倒下,就會難過,那是我們國家的象徵,不過,有房子住最重要。」

Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/333494/web/

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