Last month I took a four-hour train journey from London to the closest rainforest: the Eden Project in Cornwall. Several people recommended it to me after I described the Biodome in Montreal, and I mentioned it in my blog post about that, as one of the other large biomes in the world.
The Eden Project consists of three biomes – a 50m high (tropical) rainforest biome, a slightly smaller one with a Mediterranean and Californian climate, and an “outdoor biome”. The latter isn’t in a glass dome, it’s the gardens of the project, and these obviously have a Southern English climate.
I spent most of my visit in the rainforest biome. I was expecting to be hit by a wall of heat, which is what happens when you enter the rainforest area of the Montreal Biodome, but that didn’t happen. It was cool and breezy. I was a bit disappointed. Not because I was looking forward to heat – I don’t do well in anything above room temperature – but because I thought it wasn’t authentic.
I was wrong.
It did get hot in the rainforest biome, just not immediately. After walking further into the forest, the temperature rose to a sticky 32C (about 90F), and that wasn’t on a particularly hot day.
One of the main missions of the Eden Project is to educate about nature and conservation, and as you walked up to the lookout, and even at the very top platform, there were various reminders that every ten seconds an area of rainforest the size of this biome disappears.
At ground level, they showed examples of sustainable farming, for example growing coffee plants in the shade of diverse trees (rather than in entirely empty fields), and building with bamboo.
The Mediterranean biome was not as informative as the rainforest one, but I did learn something new there as well. They had a row of chili plants sorted by heat, and the hottest chili in the world was safely in a cage! No touching!
One final building on the site of the Eden Project is the Core. It’s not a biome, but it’s a hub of educational and art projects themes around sustainability, so I had a quick look here as well.
I left my own message on the wall of refrigerators. See above, and watch another visitor read it here: