“But we are rapidly losing the rainforest and its cultures. Since 1900, human encroachment has resulted in the loss of a tenth of all rainforest plant species. And in Brazil alone, over 90 different rainforest cultures have vanished. Plants billions of years in the making and human knowledge thousands of years in the shaping have disappeared forever.

“Long ago I realized I could never record but a fraction of the botanical information possessed by the shamans. So my wife and I founded the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT). With governmental coopera-tion, we’re teaching different tribes to map their forests. The mapping has defined boundaries and established management directives that have helped us protect 27 million acres of ancestral lands in Suriname and Brazil.

“I don’t want my children inheriting a world that is less diverse than the one I was born into. … I see how much dedicated individuals matter. With our tiny group, even one dedicated assistant can elevate our level of play, allowing us to save more. And each of those ‘saves’ raises the likelihood of a delicious irony: that by saving the world of these voiceless plants and powerless cultures we may someday save our own world"

marco ventura is based in milan, italy. his illustrations are deeply influenced by the italian renaissance master painters. his work has appeared in gq, forbes, and time, among others.