Living Root Bridges

Posted By Ben Goulding, 7 August, 2009 | permalink

Living Root Bridges

“In the depths of northeastern India, in one of the wettest places on earth, bridges aren’t built – they’re grown.”

The southern Khasi and Jaintia hills are humid and warm and are home to The Ficus elastica tree. The Ficus Elastica produces a second set of roots from higher up its trunk, which are able to rest on boulders along the riverbanks or in the rivers themselves to create a bridge.

“The War-Khasis, a tribe in Meghalaya, long ago noticed this tree and saw in its powerful roots an opportunity to easily cross the area’s many rivers. Now, whenever and wherever the need arises, they simply grow their bridges. In order to make a rubber tree’s roots grow in the right direction – say, over a river – the Khasis use betel nut trunks, sliced down the middle and hollowed out, to create root-guidance systems.”

The capabilities of nature are quite extraordinary when you see things like this and the resourcefulness of the Khasis is quite a remarkable thing too.

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Comments
Ralph August 8, 2009

Thats is awesome! You got a cool site!

Ben Goulding August 9, 2009

Hey Ralph, thank you!

Yeh, the Ficus elastica is incredible. An extraordinary tree!

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