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Ludwig, Daniel Keith (1897–1992)

Ludwig, Daniel Keith (1897–1992)

Daniel Keith Ludwig (b. 24 June 1897; d. 27 August 1992), American billionaire. In 1967, Ludwig purchased property on both sides of the Jari River in western Pará and Amapá for $3 million and named it Jari. He bought this Brazilian property, the size of Connecticut, so he could grow and manufacture pulpwood. President Humberto Castello Branco granted Ludwig such concessions as ten-year tax exemptions and a guarantee that he could run his operation as he pleased without interference from the Brazilian government. Jari included housing for workers at Monte Dourado, the town Ludwig had built; 2,500 miles of dirt roads; and 50 miles of railroad tracks.

Although Ludwig planned to plant most of the area in Gmelina arborea seedlings, a fast-growing East India tree, the huge machines used to level the forest packed down the nutritionless soil, and most of the Gmelinas died. He finally covered one-third of Jari in the hardier Caribbean pine, which survived but takes sixteen years to mature. Ludwig did profit from rice he had planted around the Jari River; kaolin, used in the manufacture of porcelain; and bauxite deposits. These earnings, however, did not offset his losses because the remaining Gmelina seedlings failed to mature on schedule.

Despite this setback, in 1976 Ludwig spent $269 million on a pulpwood processing factory with a wood-burning power plant that was built in Japan and floated 15,500 miles across the ocean up the Amazon River to Jari. Ludwig had neither enough pulpwood to operate the factory at full capacity nor enough wood to keep his power plant fueled. He realized he would never recover his $1 billion investment. He sold Jari in 1982 for $300 million to a consortium of twenty-three companies backed by the Brazilian government. Jari continues to operate and has made profits from kaolin.

See alsoCastello Branco, Humberto de Alencar .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Susanna Hecht and Alexander Cockburn, The Fate of the Forest: Developers, Destroyers, and Defenders of the Amazon (1990).

Gwen Kinkead, "Trouble in D. K. Ludwig's Jungle," in Fortune, 20 April 1981.

Jerry Shields, The Invisible Billionaire, Daniel Ludwig (1986).

Roger D. Stone, Dreams of Amazonia (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Little, Paul E. Amazonia: Territorial Struggles on Perennial Frontiers. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Posey, Clayton E., and Harold K. Steen. An Interview with Clayton E. Posey. Durham, NC: Forest History Society, 1995.

                                      Carolyn Jostock

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