Panama Canal Zone Panama | 2007

This documentary focuses on the potential for a global industrial infrastructure to be symbiotic with local ecological processes. The design of the lock system for the Panama Canal depends on a steady supply of gravity fed water to lift the vessels to navigate the elevational shift between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The large rainforest surrounding the Canal zone is a natural mechanism for feeding a constant supply of water to the locks. In periods of heavy rainfall, the rainforest moderates the flow of rainwater into the locks, preventing the siltation of the canal and reducing the need for maintenance dredging. In periods of low rainfall, the rainforest continues to leach water into the lock holding tanks. The dependence of the canal on the rainforest has led to strict preservation requirements, resulting in a highly diverse rainforest ecology, also attracting a strong eco-tourism industry.

Sponsored by: 
Harvard University Druker Research Fellowship