In 1690, gold was discovered in southeastern Brazil.
Prospectors dammed streams and blasted banks clean of vegetation to access gold.
The forest was burned for centuries to raise beef to feed to a population swelling during the gold rush.
Grazing rapidly degrades the land, but with ever more forest to clear, plots were soon abandoned for fresher soil. Exhausted tracts were colonised by invasive grasses adapted for harsh Alpine soils.
Many rural people would like to reforest but poverty traps them into a vicious cycle and they are forced to clear what remains.
Regeneration can create abundance and resilience. Given the right support, the forest and its wildlife can rapidly return, promising hope for the future of our planet.