Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

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As the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization reported, 129 million hectares of forest, an area almost equivalent in size to South Africa, have been lost from the Earth forever since 1990.

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

As the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization reported, 129 million hectares of forest, an area almost equivalent in size to South Africa, have been lost from the Earth forever since 1990. An area almost the size of the country of Panama is being lost every year.


With 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation, and countless species of plants and animals losing their habitats every single day, those are incredibly devastating figures for the health of our planet, and it can't be allowed to continue.


Yet, what to do in the face of such massive environmental carnage? It can make someone feel small and helpless, as we ponder the impact that we can make. Will anything that we do make the slightest bit of difference? Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado decided to demonstrate what a small group of passionate, dedicated people can do by turning deforestation on its head, and start the process of reforestation.


Because Mother Nature is really a hardy soul that will always find a way to bounce back, given the right conditions. Salgado is a notable figure, having won almost every major award in photojournalism and publishing more than a half-dozen books. In the 1990s, exhausted physically and emotionally after documenting the horrific barbarity of the Rwandan genocide, he returned home to his native area of Brazil, that was once covered in lush tropical rainforest. He was devastated to find out that the area was now barren and devoid of wildlife, but his wife Lélia believed that it could be restored to its former glory.


“The land was as sick as I was – everything was destroyed,” Salgado had said in 2015. “Only about 0.5 percent of the land was covered in trees. Then my wife had a fabulous idea to replant this forest. And when we began to do that, then all the insects and birds and fish returned and, thanks to this increase of the trees I, too, was reborn – this was the most important moment.”


Together, Sebastião and Lélia founded Instituto Terra, a small organization which has since planted four million saplings and has brought the forest back from the dead. “Perhaps we have a solution,” said Salgado. “There is a single being which can transform CO2 to oxygen, which is the tree. We need to replant the forest. You need forest with native trees, and you need to gather the seeds in the same region you plant them or the serpents, and the termites won’t come. And if you plant forests that don’t belong, the animals don’t go there and the forest is silent.”


Therefore, after taking utmost care to make sure that everything planted is native to the land, the area has flourished notably in the ensuing 20 years. Wildlife has returned, where there was a deathly silence, there is now a cacophony of birdcalls and insects buzzing around.


172 bird species have returned, as well as 33 species of mammals, 15 species of amphibians, 15 species of reptiles, and 293 species of plants; an entire ecosystem has been rebuilt from scratch.


Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Ricaro Beliel


Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Sebastiao Salgado


Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

institutoterra


Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Sebastiao Salgado

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Weverson Rocio


Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Sebastiao Salgado

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

YASUYOSHI CHIBA


Here is what people had to say about the reforestation initiative:

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest

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Thinking Humanity: Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest
Photographer And His Wife Planted Two Million Trees In 20 Years To Restore A Destroyed Forest
As the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization reported, 129 million hectares of forest, an area almost equivalent in size to South Africa, have been lost from the Earth forever since 1990.
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