Plunging At Over 300kph, Brazilian Skydiver Luigi Cani Dropped 100 Million Seeds Into The Amazon

In the 1980s, burning rainforests in Brazil drew worldwide attention to the ‘lungs of the world’. About 17 percent of the Amazonian rainforest has been destroyed over the past 50 years and, shockingly enough, in 2022, the studies showed the highest recorded deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon since 2016.

Brazilian skydiving legend Luigi Cani wanted to find a way to help. It took him 5 years of preparation to make this restoration dream come true, yet in 2022, he finally scattered 100 million seeds from 27 native plants at 6,500 feet over the Brazilian Amazon.  

More info: Luigi Cani

In 2022, Luigi Cani performed one of the most important jumps of his life, releasing 100 million seeds from 27 native plants into a deforested part of the Amazon

Image credits: Luigi Cani

Image credits: Luigi Cani

Image credits: Luigi Cani

Image credits: Luigi Cani

Luigi Cani made nearly 14,000 jumps and set 11 world records over his two-decade-long career, yet this time, the athlete wasn’t seeking adventure. He wanted to do something meaningful with an impact for the brighter future. “Now, I’m 51 years old, and I don’t have that drive for danger anymore. I want to do something to help,” shared Cani at the time.

It took 5 years of preparation to make the strategic reforestation idea come true on the 100 sq km patch of land, situated 130 km from Novo Aripuanã in the north of the country. From getting the proper permits from the Brazilian government (12 legal permits were necessary) to building a biodegradable seedbox that would properly distribute the seeds – nothing was easy.

“We have gone through a very exhaustive process to bring together all the tools capable of making this action possible,” said Cani.

The seeds were selected from a nearby rainforest to suit over 60,000 plant species found in the Amazon. Selecting the right ones was the truly essential part since native plants are the ones that have evolved naturally and have adapted to the local climate, soil conditions and wildlife. Besides that, it gives rise to various ecological ripple effects that aid the forest further.

Around 3.7 tons of materials and equipment were sent by ship to Novo Aripuanã, in the north of the country, while the other things were carried out with an electric vehicle on land.

“It was the only jump in my life that I held my breath the entire time. My heart was beating really fast. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack,” Cani shared the remarkable memories. “I struggled to hold the box. I nearly broke my wrist and fingers. I managed to stabilize myself at about 6,000 ft, and the seeds were released precisely where we wanted them to be. It was complete ecstasy.”

With a germination rate of 95%, there are lots of chances that all the efforts were worth it and that a huge part of the deforested Amazon now has a chance to thrive. Cani’s team is constantly monitoring the situation by satellite and starting this year, they are already expecting to see the results.

100 seeds project was supported by Audi do Brazil and aims to help in the recovery of the environment, reacting to the impacts suffered in recent years

Image credits: Council on Foreign Relations

Image credits: David Riaño Cortés

Cani is one of the world’s best-known aerial athletes whose groundbreaking projects have been broadcast on more than 60 television channels around the globe. He has 79 medals from international competitions and holds 11 world records, including the free fall speed record of 552km/h and also jumping and landing with the world’s smallest and fastest parachute.

As a kid, the Brazilian stunt performer always dreamed of flying and when he grew up, he already knew that he wanted to pursue that dream.

“After a lot of time in the free fall, I realized that everyone can fly in their own field. Now, I want to help other people learn to fly and step out of their comfort zones. It’s a challenge, because most people resist change, whether individual or global. However, we need huge changes to make the world better than it is today. The possibility for growth is incredible, but more people need to be willing to learn and work together,” he shared his thoughts.

The 11-time world record holder scattered 100 million native seeds at 6,500 feet over the region

Image credits: Luigi Cani

Image credits: Luigi Cani

Image credits: Luigi Cani

Image credits: BTG Pactual

The Amazon rainforest is the largest one in the world. It definitely plays a critical role in our fight against climate change with an estimated 150-200 billion tons of carbon stored within. Yet despite its importance, according to satellite data, roughly the size of a football pitch worth of the forest is cleared every single minute.

In 2022, about 20% of the Amazon rainforest had already been deforested and a further 6% was ‘highly degraded’; therefore, such initiatives as Luigi Cani’s are vital. The Amazon has supported our planet for 10 million years, but the time is running out and if we want to save the lungs of our planet for future generations, we all have to take responsibility with the right actions.

People shared their grateful messages for Luigi and his team on social media

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