At this time, his wife Lélia made a near-impossible proposal. She believed that their forest could be restored to its former glory if they put all their effort into it. Sebastião supported her idea and the couple decided to replant the entire area with a species that once flourished there. Since then, a miraculous transformation has taken place.
The dream of planting a forest was shared with others.
Salgado sowed his very first seed in 1998, but obviously 2 people weren’t enough to do such tremendous work. In order to restore their deserted piece of 1,754 acre forest land, the couple hired 24 people who worked day and night together with the owners, uprooting invasive weeds, planting new seedlings, and watering the plants.
At the same time, Sebastião started building a network of enthusiastic volunteers and partnerswho would fund and sustain their immense project. To attract attention to their mission, the couple set up an environmental organization, the Instituto Terra.