Forest Guardians

Felipe Fittipaldi, Brazil

No vast tropical forest ecosystem has suffered as much loss as the Mata Atlântica, also known as the Atlantic Forest. Historically, the Mata Atlântica made up over a 1.2 million sq km (about a quarter of the size of the Amazon), but after centuries of deforestation for timber, sugar cane, coffee, cattle ranching, and urban sprawl, the Mata Atlântica has declined by well over 90 percent: today less than 100,000 sq km of the forest remain.

In the interior of Brazil, where the predatory culture of deforestation predominates in agriculture and livestock farming, a group of people who worked with deforestation in the past have found a new path. Through projects implemented by NGOs and educational programs, these people have made peace with nature and are helping to reforest large open areas with native species of Mata Atlântica.

This essay is a tribute to those people who have made peace with nature through hard work to restore the native forest in their communities.

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