Nature

Couple planted an entire forest for 20 years and hundreds of endangered animals returned

Couple planted an entire forest for 20 years and hundreds of endangered animals returned

Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado returned from East Africa after documenting the horrors of the Rwanda genocide around 30 years ago.

There’s no doubt that this was certainly a traumatizing project that was untaken but it was something that had to be done. Upon completion of the story, Salgado had planned to take over his family’s sprawling cattle ranch in Minas Gerais which was a region he remembered as a lush and lively rainforest. This was in fact far from the truth.

Animals Finally Return After Couple Spends 20 Years Replanting An Entire Forest

The area which was once covered in a rich expanse of forests had unfortunately undergone a drastic transformation and only about 0.5% was covered in trees. Furthermore, all of the wildlife had disappeared. This has left Salgado both shocked and disgusted. In an interview with The Guardian, he said that the land was as sick as he was.

It was then that his wife, Lélia, had the idea that they should replant the whole forest. Now, two people replanting a vast expanse of land is near impossible and would take decades. It's for that reason that the couple set up the Instituto Terra in 1998, which is an environmental organization dedicated to the sustainable development of the Valley of the River Doce.

From there, the team slowly grew until there was a whole army of people willing to help replant the forest. Over the next several years, the Salgado couple, along with the Instituto Terra team, managed to rebuild the 1,754-acre forest. It had gone from being just another barren plot of land, back to its former glory as a lush, green paradise.

Flora and Fauna

The restoration of the forests has had a huge effect on many things, not just the landscape itself. Not only has it given Salgado a new lease of life, but it's also allowed many different flora and fauna species to flourish with 172 species of birds, 33 species of mammals, and 15 species of amphibians and reptiles—many of which are endangered. Alongside them, there are 293 different species of trees covering the former cattle ranch. What's more, the area has since become a Private Natural Heritage Reserve.

It's not just the animals and plants that have benefitted either. This rejuvenation of the land has also had a huge impact on the ecosystem and climate in the surrounding areas. In addition to all the flora and fauna, the project has also rejuvenated several once dried-up springs in the drought-prone area and has even positively affected local temperatures which is just remarkable.

Brazilian Photographer Restored An Entire Forest With 27 Million Trees In 20 Years Sebastio Salgado Brazil

It's so great to see people having such a huge beneficial impact on the environment and the areas around it. It's not often that just two people having an idea of what to do with their family ranch can lead to such an amazing feat that affects the entire areas climate, as well as rare and endangered animal species. This really is a commendable thing that Salgado and his wife have done and hopefully many will follow in their footsteps, aiming to making a difference in their own local areas. Collectively, we can change the world!