Brazilian Couple Replants 1,502-Acre Forest In 20 Years, Houses 500+ Endangered Plant & Animal Species

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Renowned Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado returned home to Minas Gerais, Brazil, after covering the horrific accounts of Rwanda genocide in 1994. Hoping to find solace in the lap of a green forest, the land he knew had been destroyed completely, with only about 0.5% of the land covered in trees. His wife Lélia suggests to replant the entire forest.

The couple hired 24+ workers in the beginning and was later joined by numerous volunteers over the years. Soon, their hard work bore fruit as tropical trees native to the region started flourishing in the area. They received a donation of over one lakh saplings which gave rise to a dense forest. The handcrafted forest comprises mostly of local arboreal and shrub varieties. Latest satellite imagery revealed how a soothing green forest cover has enveloped the area which once was a devastating arid eyesore.

Since 1998, they have planted more than 2 million saplings of 293 species of trees and rejuvenated 1,502 acres of tropical forest. The biodiversity-rich zone has recently been declared as a Private Natural Heritage Reserve (PNHR).

The afforestation project, which is undoubtedly one of the greatest environmental initiatives in the world, has also helped to control soil erosion and revived the natural springs in the area. Eight water springs which once dried up, flow at around 20 litres per minute at present, relieving the drought-prone region of its woes. Salgado’s forest also happens to solve the much-debated notion about climate change, proving that the trend can be reversed if tried.

The forest has resulted in causing more rainfall to the area and cooler weather, bringing a drastic and desirable change in the climate.

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