Nearly 4 decades ago, Omar Tellojob was a man who lived on a comfortable accountant’s job. But, as he began noticing the rainforests disappearing all around him, he decided to leave his job and devote himself to restoring a piece of land into its original glory. And that’s how he became known as the Ecuadorian who grew a piece of the Amazon rainforest.
Just a century ago, 90% of Ecuador’s land area was flourishing with widely diversified flora and fauna. As the country began prospering industrially, thousands of square miles of Ecuadorian rainforests were converted to pasture, crop fields and cleared for oil and gas development. Now, only 35% of the country’s surface retains its past glory as a rainforest.
It was in 1961 that Omar Tello purchased a seven-hectare plot outside the town of Puyo. The land was severely damaged and was in no condition to foster a rich ecosystem. Despite the odds, Tello was determined to plant the forests that were destroyed and give back the “same nature that was stolen”. It was his adamant determination and hard work that later earned him the “Ecuador’s forest man”.
Meet Omar Tello, Ecuador’s Forest Man, Who Grew His Own Amazon Rainforest
The land had deteriorated so much that it took 15 years alone to restore the soil to accommodate flora. With the help of materials such as sawdust, chicken manure, other nutrients, and intimate care, the soil became rich enough to support the growth of plants.
He then procured cuttings and scarce seeds native to the Amazon rainforest. After planting them methodically, he looked after his piece of land with immense care and commitment. His relentless efforts soon prospered as the trees grew up healthy and the wild animals and birds returned gradually returned. Now, Tello’s revived rainforest houses thousands of plant species and animals, including 400 species of spiders.
While he replanted a perished natural rainforest, development – aka destruction of nature – thrived healthier than ever. To match the latter’s pace, he is now sharing his knowledge in other reforestation projects. Though only a handful of farmers joined hands in his quest to restore nature, Tello is more ecstatic than ever to offer his services for the glorious purpose.
Omar and his wife, Lupe, journeyed together on an extremely rough path to this day. Two of his four kids have special needs but he follows a tiring routine of 16-hours in nursing his rainforest and its newest members. Nevertheless, his hard work and devotion have been rewarded appropriately.