The largest construction site in Brazil is nowhere near the soccer stadiums being whipped up to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup: It’s a dam on the Xingu River, deep in the Amazon rainforest. The Belo Monte Dam reemerged three years ago after a first proposal foundered in the 1990s amid protests over its environmental impact. It will be the world's third-largest hydroelectric station, overshadowed by only the Itaipu Dam on Brazil's border with Paraguay and China’s Three Gorges Dam.

The dam, with a capacity to generate 11.233 megawatts of power, will come online by February 2015, according to Norte Energia, the Brazilian conglomerate of power companies, investors, and pension funds behind the project. At the peak of its construction, the project may employ 20,000 people.

The dam will divert about 80 percent of the Xingu River's flow, affecting more than 1,500 square kilometers (579 square miles) of rainforest, and will force the displacement of as many as 40,000 people, according to the San Francisco-based NGO Amazon Watch.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

The largest construction site in Brazil is nowhere near the soccer stadiums being whipped up to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup: It’s a dam on the Xingu River, deep in the Amazon rainforest. The Belo Monte Dam reemerged three years ago after a first proposal foundered in the 1990s amid protests over its environmental impact. It will be the world's third-largest hydroelectric station, overshadowed by only the Itaipu Dam on Brazil's border with Paraguay and China’s Three Gorges Dam.

The dam, with a capacity to generate 11.233 megawatts of power, will come online by February 2015, according to Norte Energia, the Brazilian conglomerate of power companies, investors, and pension funds behind the project. At the peak of its construction, the project may employ 20,000 people.

The dam will divert about 80 percent of the Xingu River's flow, affecting more than 1,500 square kilometers (579 square miles) of rainforest, and will force the displacement of as many as 40,000 people, according to the San Francisco-based NGO Amazon Watch.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

Last of Eden: In the Shadow of Brazil's Largest Construction Site

The largest construction site in Brazil is nowhere near the soccer stadiums being whipped up to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup: It’s a dam on the Xingu River, deep in the Amazon rainforest. The Belo Monte Dam reemerged three years ago after a first proposal foundered in the 1990s amid protests over its environmental impact. It will be the world's third-largest hydroelectric station, overshadowed by only the Itaipu Dam on Brazil's border with Paraguay and China’s Three Gorges Dam.

The dam, with a capacity to generate 11.233 megawatts of power, will come online by February 2015, according to Norte Energia, the Brazilian conglomerate of power companies, investors, and pension funds behind the project. At the peak of its construction, the project may employ 20,000 people.

The dam will divert about 80 percent of the Xingu River's flow, affecting more than 1,500 square kilometers (579 square miles) of rainforest, and will force the displacement of as many as 40,000 people, according to the San Francisco-based NGO Amazon Watch.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

Jubilant young men return home from the month’s best hunting trip, where more than 25 peccary were killed.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

Xikrin hunters offload a large haul of peccary to be cleaned in the river in the remaining light of day. For the next few days the villagers will eat mostly peccary so that the meat will not go to waste.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

A young man sights down the barrel of his shotgun while hunting in the jungle. Hunting trips are quiet affairs with frequent stops to listen for game. Experienced hunters can recognize and mimic many animal sounds.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

A successful hunting trip has yielded a jungle bird and cupuaçu fruit. Because the cupuaçu is unwieldy, the hunter fashioned a kanhipex (bag) out of palm fronds and strips of bark.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

The indigenous Xikrin people live on the Bacaja, a tributary of the Xingu River, where construction of the Belo Monte Dam is reaching its peak. Some scientists warn that the water level of the Bacaja will decrease precipitously because of the dam.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

Xikrin women spend much of their time painting the bodies of their family and friends. The designs are passed down from mother to daughter, and the Xikrin often say they do not feel like themselves when they are unpainted.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

Kroire, a Poti-Kro warrior, returns from a successful hunting trip with a jabuti, a land turtle. Villagers usually take boats to different parts of the jungle to avoid overhunting any one area.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

Nhakri and Nhgreiproti, Xikrin women in the village of Poti-Kro, pose for a portrait under the fruit trees behind their houses.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

Xikrin women combine washing harvested yucca with bathing. Much activity takes place in the river daily.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

Yucca is a staple food for the Xikrin. Here, grated yucca is roasted to make farinha, which accompanies almost every meal.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press

The Bacaja River is a tributary of the Xingu River, which is being dammed by the Belo Monte hydroelectric project. As the dam quickly nears completion, the Xikrin have already seen a negative impact on fish populations, and scientists warn of a lowered water table that could dry out this area of the Bacaja.

Photograph by Taylor Weidman/zReportage via ZUMA Press