The photos below were taken by Rodrigo Baleia on the many trips he has taken to the Amazon Rainforest since 2000. After 218,000 miles of flight documentation he has learned a lot and cares deeply about the rainforest, and has made it his mission to show others why they should care too. He is striving to change people’s idyllic, exotic image of the Amazon where “nature was untouched and people were living in harmony” and replace it with these graphic photos of destroyed land. It is only then, when people can visualize the damage being done that they will realize things need to change.

Mr. Baleia’s photos document changes in the landscape and its inhabitants from 2000-2012. He says he has even noticed patterns in the land, such as patches of land being changed into pastures for cattle or soybean crops. Possibly the most eye-opening part of his journey has been observing how the impacts of large projects such as dams reach the forest and the smaller communities that live deep within it.

Forest fires, allegedly set by farmers and cattle ranchers, in Mato Grosso, Brazil. August 2008. – Rodrigo Baleia

An area deforested for cattle ranching in northern Mato Grosso, Brazil. August 2008. – Rodrigo Baleia

dIn northern Mato Grosso, Brazil, tractors drag a huge chain in the soil for cleanup. July 2009. – Rodrigo Baleia

Soil is prepared for soybean farming within the ‘Legal Amazon’ in Mato Grosso, Brazil. December 2008. – Rodrigo Baleia

A cattle ranch in União do Sul, Mato Grosso, Brazil. July 2010. – Rodrigo Baleia

Land is prepared for farming in Mato Grosso, Brazil. December 2008. – Rodrigo Baleia

A view of illegal logging in sawmill area in Rondon do Pará, Pará, Brazil. November 2011. – Rodrigo Baleia

View of a Combine working in agricultural land in Santa Carmem, Mato Grosso, Brazil. July 2010. – Rodrigo Baleia

The forest is ashen after a fire process in Southern Pará, Brazil. July 2010. – Rodrigo Baleia

A logging truck drives past agricultural land in Santa Carmem, Mato Grosso, Brazil. July 2010. – Rodrigo Baleia

A sole Brazilian Nut Tree, isolated because of the deforestation and a degraded environment, sits on the land, December 2008. – Rodrigo Baleia