In The Lost City of Z, David Grann describes following in the footsteps of Colonel Percy Fawcett, the British explorer who disappeared in the Amazon in 1925. He found himself driven in a car along BR-163, 'one of the most treacherous roads in South America.'
'I kept looking out of the window,' he writes, 'expecting to see the first signs of a fearsome jungle. Instead, the terrain looked like Nebraska - perpetual plains that faded into the horizon. When I asked Taukane where the forest was, he said, simply, "Gone."'
'A moment later, ' he adds, 'he pointed to a fleet of diesel-belching trucks heading in the opposite direction, carrying sixty-foot logs.'