Juturi Media

The Living Bridges

While the first bridges were likely nothing short of logs toppled over creeks, most of humanity’s bridge-building legacy is a story of artificial structures crafted out of the elements. We can find, however, one of the most striking exceptions to this rule in the Meghalaya region of northern India.

wood bridge

During monsoon season, locals here endure some of the wettest conditions on Earth, and rising floodwater’s cut the land into isolated fragments. Build a bridge out of woven vines or hewn boards and the rain forest moisture will inevitably turn it into compost. As you can see from the photo, the local people developed a rather elegant solution to the problem: They grow their bridges out of natural vegetation. In doing so, they turn a large portion of the bridge maintenance duties over to the bridge itself.

Building a living bridge takes patience, of course. The local villagers plan their constructions a decade or…

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