Couple Spends 20 Years Transforming Barren Land Into A Vast Tropical Forest, And Endangered Animals Are Now Returning Home

Couple Spends 20 Years Transforming Barren Land Into A Vast Tropical Forest, And Endangered Animals Are Now Returning Home

A couple from Brazil spent 20 years to recreate a lost forest. See pictures of this lush green tropical heaven which was once a barren piece of land.

Our planet has suffered its losses over the years. The extinction of animals, global warming and the intense deforestation, all which are a result of humans and their selfish agendas. While we humans are busy leading our professional and personal lives, a Brazillian couple, Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado have done something incredibly inspiring together. The couple has spent a large part of their life successfully transforming a vast 1,754-acre land from a barren wasteland to a lush tropical paradise.

Determined to achieve a common goal, Lelia stood by her husband Salgado through thick and thin. After 20 years of toil, the couple made their dream come true. Together they gave life to a dead piece of land and created a home for hundreds of animals, many of which are endangered.


What's more? Their blood and sweat over 20 years have paid off in the best way possible. Not only has it resurrected the groundwater in the area, but the climate, too, has significantly improved, with the region getting more rain.

According to the Guardian, the renown photographer Sebastião Salgado and his wife replanted an entire forest and brought back many endangered animals back to their habitat. Salgado, who returned to Brazil from East Africa 30 years ago was surprised to find his family's green, lively cattle ranch look like dead with only 0.5 percent of land covered with trees and absolutely no wildlife.


“The land was as sick as I was – everything was destroyed,” said Salgado to the Guardian. However, Salgado was not one of those men who kept his feelings to his heart without action. He along with his wife Lélia decided to completely transform the face of his 1,754-acre land and recreate the image of the land from his childhood, a lush green forest.


The determined photographer and his wife set up Instituto Terra, an organization dedicated to transforming the forest. Planting the first seed in December 1999 and hiring around 24 workers in the beginning, they were joined by several like-minded people to help bring back what was lost. Over the years, the couple and the team planted more than 2 million trees in the barren land and also received a donation of one hundred thousand saplings.


“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,” Salgado adds.

Over the span of 20 years, the barren land, now a Private Natural Heritage Reserve is home to hundreds of different species of flora and fauna. It has about 293 species of trees, 172 species of birds, 33 species of mammals, and 15 species of amphibians and reptiles many of which are endangered.


"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," said Salgado to the Guardian.

The project not only brought back plants and animals to the region but also rejuvenated several dried up springs in the drought-prone area. The forest also resulted in cooler weather and more rainfall, bringing about a hugely positive change to the climate in the entire region.


“We need to listen to the words of the people on the land. 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,” stated Salgado to the Guardian.

The couple's efforts are truly inspirational to people all over the globe.