After visiting his family’s denuded property in 1990, Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia Wanick Salgado began planning an ambitious reforestation project that led to the creation of a related educational center.
In December of 1990, renowned Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia visited his family’s former cattle ranch for the first time in over two decades. They couldn’t believe their eyes. The couple had not seen the 711-hectare (1,757-acre) ranch in the east-central state of Minas Gerais since before they self-exiled to Paris in 1969, five years after a coup had initiated a 21-year military dictatorship in Brazil. Back then, the property had boasted a lush, albeit isolated stand of Atlantic Forest. But after more than two decades away, the Salgados were confronted with the results of the relentless land clearing carried out by Salgado’s father, also named Sebastião, for his cattle operation. “We were shocked and saddened,” says Salgado, who is still based in Paris but continues to visit family and friends in Brazil. “Virtually all of the land of my father’s former... [Log in to read more]