Ulla Lohmann

THE GUARDIANS OF BIODIVERSITY

@ Michel Bouvet

Ulla Lohmann is a German documentary film-maker, photographer and adventurer with nature at the core of her concerns. She is renowned for her extraordinary images of the Vanuatu volcanoes and the ethnic groups of Papua New Guinea. “Ever since I was a child, I’ve learnt to read animal tracks in the forest and understand the flow of the seasons and the cycles of animals.” Unsurprisingly, therefore, the Yves Rocher Foundation tasked her with capturing images of the people in Madagascar who are fighting to preserve a threatened natural area. On this southern African island, deforestation is a disaster: through the exploitation of precious wood and bush fires, the country has lost almost half of its natural forest area over the last 60 years. Ulla Lohmann visited the site of Antrema in north-west Madagascar, a 20,660-hectare biocultural reserve protected by the Sakalava community. Here lemurs, an endangered endemic species, are considered sacred and are thus protected, while wild logging is severely punished. Meanwhile in the Analanjirofo region on the other side of the island, reforestation has become a regional cause: whole families are working with NGOs to replant clove trees or fertiliser trees to generate additional income. Lohmann’s road movie resounds like a true hymn to life.

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