By Livia Caroline Neves | Translation: Una P. Cavalcante

Approximately five million years ago, the first humans began to come down from trees and inhabit the African Savannas. It was noted that twenty years ago their descendents started to climb up the trees again.Researchers have studied fauna and flora of forests in Costa Rica and the Amazon. They have started using systems similar to those in the current circuits of Arborismo or Tree Climbing (acrobatic trail on trees).

Arborismo started in 1997, when ecological groups protested against the cutting of forests in England. These protestors began to climb up the trees to prevent them from being cut.That same year Arborismo appeared as a radical sport in France, Costa Rica and New Zealand. Tree Climbing reached Brazil three years ago, first in Sao Paulo State, in the cities of Brotas and Campos do Jordao and recently it spread to Itacare, the south coast of Bahia State.

This new craze is a mixture of radical sports and an ecological high on heights. It is practiced in two basic forms allying nature and adventure. The climbing of canopies is ways to appreciate sights from different angles, and appreciate views usually seem only by birds. It’s a way to feel the texture of tree trunks and branches, see flowers, and feel the breeze. It could be done in any fresh and ample place, without the need of huge set up structures.

The Verticalia is the form that focuses on vertical techniques of climbing, crossing and descending. There are several obstacles, which may include up to 36 different exercises. The practitioners do warm-ups and learn how to use the strap in correctly, before climbing the platforms that vary from 21 to 60 feet high.

The Arborismo techniques are based on mountain climbing and hiking. They are done separately sometimes to cross the rivers and irregular grounds and other times to appreciate nature.The aerial parts can be reached either by cables, ropes, bridges, nets or slides. It requires lifting the person and sliding them through a cable between two trees. Many practitioners consider this the most exciting part and an adrenaline rush.

Tree climbing is a start for those that have never practiced radical sports. It does not require much physical conditioning or any special training. However, one must have courage, coordination and agility to face the obstacles. This adventure is so ecological that no trees are harmed or drilled. The philosophy of this sport does not allow anyone to hurt nature.

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