Couple plants 2m trees to restore destroyed forest

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Couple plants 2m trees to restore destroyed forest

Jacqueline Walker

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Over the last 20 years, a Brazilian couple has turned an area of desert-looking land, that used to be an ecologically diverse rainforest, back into a complete, flourishing forest after planting 2.7 million trees in Brazil, which they named as the Atlantic Forest.

Sebastiao Salgado, a Brazilian photographer, left his mid-rainforest home 20 years ago in hope of finding a career in journalism, but upon returning, he saw that the forest around his home had been devastatingly cut down to a wasteland, destroying all nearby habitats.

“The land was as sick as I was – everything was destroyed,” Salgado said, “Only about 0.5% of the land was covered in trees”

Fearing of what to do next, Sebastio’s wife, Lélia Salgado, suggested that perhaps they could attempt to replant the entire forest themselves. At first this idea must have seemed absurd and pretty much impossible, but with serious determination and strength, the couple began to work day and night to make their home green again.

Fortunately for the weather and soil conditions “all the insects and birds and fish returned and, thanks to this increase of the trees I, too, was reborn,” Salgado said during a 2015 interview, going onto say that “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.”

As you can tell by these photographs, 20 years later, the area is unrecognizable because there is clearly a lot of vegetation and many more trees. Although 20 years may not seem like a long time for an entire forest to regrow, this Brazilian couple has proven that it indeed can be done through hard work and of course with the help of prime growing conditions.