Bringing nature back to life

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New wildlife in a replanted forest
By Jinny Throup
After many years of hard work and dedication, Brazilian photojournalist Sebastiao Salgado and his wife Lelia, have succeeded in transforming a barren plot of land into a tropical paradise. Almost 30 years ago the couple inherited their family’s sprawling cattle ranch in Minas Gerais. They were dismayed to find that, what had once been a lush and lively rainforest was now almost bare of trees, and all of the wildlife had disappeared. Determined to restore the forest, they called their project the Instituto Terra, and began the slow but steady process of reviving this massive 750 hectare forest.

Twenty years after starting the project, the former cattle ranch has happily become a Private Natural Heritage Reserve which is once again home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. In addition to almost 300 species of trees, the land now boasts 172 species of birds, 33 species of mammals, and 15 species of amphibians, many of which are endangered. The project has also rejuvenated several dried-up springs in this drought-prone area, and has had a huge positive impact on both the ecosystem and local climate.


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