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Couple Plants 2 Million Trees in 20 Years to Restore A Destroyed Forest and Even the Animals Have Returned

in Enviroment 61 views

In 2001, the legendary photojournalist Sebastião Salgado had a dream of restoring the forest near his home in the state of Minas Gerais. Now 20 years later, his family property is a biodiverse paradise.

His work over long years saw him, his wife Lélia, and volunteers plant 20 million trees from 290 different species across over 1,500 acres of desiccated hillsides, recreating a natural forest ecosystem into which rare animals have now come to live.

Salgado’s story is a famous one. The photojournalist documented some of the most dramatic events of human misery of the 20th century. He authored half a dozen books, exhibited his photos around the world, and was the subject of a documentary Salt of the Earth. 

When he came home in 1998 after reporting on the exodus of the Rwandans into the Congo, the land around his family home had been completely destroyed.

“The land was as sick as I was—everything was destroyed,” Salgado told the Guardian back in 2015.

“Only about 0.5% 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.”

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