It has been said that 129 million hectares of forest has been lost since 1990. This is roughly the size of the country of Panama.
This has devastating ramifications, not only because of the greenhouse gases that are produced due to deforestation but also because of the loss of homes for multiple animals that live among these trees.
One couple has made it their mission to reduce the damage done and by the looks of the photos below, it is safe to say that they have been successfully achieving this since they began in 2000.
Salgado is well respected in his field having won awards in photojournalism and having published various books on the topic. After returning to his home in Brazil he found land that had previously been covered in trees now rather barren. His wife and showed him that this land could be restored to its former condition.
“The land was as sick as I was – everything was destroyed,” Salgado said in an interview 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.”
The couple founded an organisation called Instituto Terra which has planted over 4 million samplings and has done decent work towards bringing the area back to life.
“Perhaps we have a solution,” Salgado said. “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 come there and the forest is silent.”
In the 20 years since they began the majority of plant life and wildlife have returned. The land said to have flourished where before the land was met with dead silence.
Overall 172 birds species, 33 species of mammals, 293 species of plants, 15 species of reptiles and 15 species of amphibians have returned and restored the area to what it once was entirely from scratch.
This project has shown many how easy it is to restore land back to its former glory and has inspired many to take up similar projects in their areas.
“We need to listen to the words of the people on the land,” Salgado explained. “Nature is the earth and it is other beings and if we don’t have some kind of spiritual return to our planet, I fear that we will be compromised.”