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The central Argentinian province of Córdoba was once covered in thorny forests and rich grasslands. One of these forest ecosystems is known as “the Espinal,” an area that was replete with native flora and fauna. But within the last 100 years, almost the entire Espinal ecoregion has disappeared. Due to the spread of agriculture and invasive species, only fragmented patches remain.
Nevertheless, Analí Bustos is working to restore the glory of this unique landscape.
“Forests and trees make Earth livable,” said the biologist and coordinator of the forest restoration project in the Espinal’s Monte Alegre Natural Reserve, who was chosen by the Global Landscapes Forum to be one of its esteemed Restoration Stewards last year.
Bustos and her team have already made substantial progress in this pioneering project: animals have begun returning, trees are maturing and landowners have even begun adopting agroecological practices. Bustos hopes that the Argentinian government will one day declare the reserve a protected area.
She wishes for her path to pave the way for other women and girls to work in advancing science and protecting nature, and she finds similarity between the way that women have been traditionally mistreated in society and the way Mother Earth is abused today.
“That is why I find it absolutely healing that we, women, are beginning to put ourselves at the forefront of restoration projects,” she says.