Total donations: $10,000 | Partnership: 2022
Instituto Terra is the result of the initiative of the couple, Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado and Sebastião Salgado, to give back to nature what decades of environmental degradation had destroyed.
What was once pasture is now forest.
Instituto Terra is a non-profit civil organization founded in April 1998. It focuses on environmental restoration and sustainable rural development in the Rio Doce Valley. The region was originally covered by the Atlantic Forest and encompasses municipalities in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, bathed by the Rio Doce Hydrographic Basin.
The Doce river basin is one of the most important in Southeast Brazil. More than four million people live in its domain, who face the consequences of deforestation and the disorderly use of natural resources, such as soil erosion and water scarcity.
Instituto Terra is the result of the initiative of the couple Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado and Sebastião Salgado, who faced with the scenario of environmental degradation in which the old cattle ranch acquired from the family of Sebastião Salgado found itself – like the many other rural units located in the city from Aimorés – made a decision: to give back to nature what decades of environmental degradation had destroyed.
The first step was to transform the area into a Private Natural Heritage Reserve – RPPN Fazenda Bulcão. The title was obtained in an unprecedented way in October 1998, being the first environmental recognition granted in Brazil to a completely degraded property, given the commitment to be reforested.
The first planting was carried out in November 1999 and had the participation of students from schools in the municipality of Aimorés, in Minas Gerais. Thus was born the main proposal of Instituto Terra: to share with the surrounding community all the knowledge acquired in the environmental restoration of the 608.69 hectares of RPPN Fazenda Bulcão.
To achieve this objective, it develops projects ranging from forest restoration and protection of springs to applied scientific research and environmental education. Financial support comes from different partners, both from the government and the private sector, as well as from Foundations and individual donors from several countries and from other Third Sector institutions.
Thanks to Instituto Terra’s work, thousands of hectares of degraded areas of the Atlantic Forest in the middle Rio Doce and close to 2,000 springs are in the process of being recovered. The former cattle farm, before completely degraded, now houses a forest with a diversity of species of flora from the Atlantic Forest.
Experience proves that together with the recovery of green, springs flow again and species of Brazilian fauna, at risk of extinction, once again have a safe haven.