In the midst of the Great Recession, Rick Paid, owner at longtime manufacturer Rare Earth Hardwoods Inc., faced difficult choices. The company, like so many others at the time, was in dire straits. Paid sold everything from his cars to the office refrigerator to get cash, but there was one thing he wouldn't part with: his 766-hectare parcel of rainforest in Brazil. He had bought it when times were good to spare it from being converted to soybean fields, a common fate for the surrounding rainforest, and letting it go or commercially logging its timber was inconceivable. The land had become the centerpiece of Paid's ecotourism business, Big Tree Adventure Tours, and a highlight on the tours was the company's namesake, a gargantuan cumaru tree. One day, however, the behemoth fell, and now it fit into Paid's "3D" forestry ethic—Dying, Dead, Down—for harvesting timber. With no access roads, workers from Paid's Brazilian forestry company, Zero Impact Brazil, headed deep into the forest on foot with a portable sawmill and chainsaws to harvest the log. They camped on site for nearly five weeks, cutting sections of the massive tree that were then carried out. The income from that single tree was enough to pull Paid's companies and their workers through the worst of the recession. Now, its story is being told in a documentary film. "This log actually saved everybody," explains Karim Abubakr, who runs Big Tree Adventure Tours, in a trailer for the movie, which is being shot by a filmmaker friend of his. The plan is to fund the movie through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaignand then submit the documentary to major film festivals. Rarely, if ever, has a single tree had such an impact.

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Here's the movie trailer:


Kim Wahlgren

Kim M. Wahlgren is the longtime editor of Wood Floor Business. Based in Madison, Wis., she manages the day-to-day operations of the WFB print magazine, website, E-News and social media. She holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin in journalism and Spanish. Away from the office, she’s busy enjoying her family, including two beautiful children, a sassy ex-racehorse, an extraordinarily silly black Labrador mutt and her husband, Brent, whom she met at … yes, wood flooring school.