Bioengineered Jungle environments

Continuing the discussion from Facial recognition at retail stores - we need your help:

Technology taketh away and technology giveth.

This short story excerpt is science fiction from the late 90’s and is still science fiction but for how much longer? One decade, two decades, five decades or a century?

It’s about what a group of organized drug cartels could do with bioengineered vegetation.

El Nido de Ladrones – the Nest of Thieves – occupies a roughly elliptical region, fifty thousand square kilometres in the western Amazon Lowlands, straddling the border between Colombia and Peru. It’s difficult to say exactly where the natural rain forest ends and the engineered species of El Nido take over, but the total biomass of the system must be close to a trillion tonnes. A trillion tonnes of structural material, osmotic pumps, solar energy collectors, cellular chemical factories, and biological computing and communications resources. All under the control of its designers.

The old maps and databases are obsolete; by manipulating the hydrology and soil chemistry, and influencing patterns of rainfall and erosion, the vegetation has reshaped the terrain completely: shifting the course of the Putumayo River, drowning old roads in swampland, raising secret causeways through the jungle. This biogenic geography remains in a state of flux, so that even the eyewitness accounts of the rare defectors from El Nido soon lose their currency. Satellite images are meaningless; at every frequency, the forest canopy conceals, or deliberately falsifies, the spectral signature of whatever lies beneath.

The jungle may not be such an easy place to hide?

How valuable is the target?

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