For nearly 40 years, Olivier Grunewald and Bernadette Gilbertas have been immersing themselves in the heart of the planet's wildest spaces, often accompanying scientific missions, to share its beauty and diversity.

Atacama salars: windows on the past

  • Atacama desert, Chile
A Franco-Chilean scientific mission came to explore the salars and lagoons of the Chilean altiplano.
At an altitude of more than 4000 meters, in the middle of the shimmering colors that illuminate the desert plateau of the Atacama, microbiologists came to collect micro-organisms adapted to these extreme conditions. The salars could well be similar to the ecosystems of the primitive earth, and the abundant microbial communities could be analogues of those that dominated on Earth, before the appearance of the more complex cells from which plants and animals, including humans, have evolved.

Gorongosa, the park of reconciliation

  • Gorongosa national park, Mozambique
The Gorongosa wilderness was, until the late 1970s, the richest and most diverse ecosystem in southern Africa.
But sixteen years of violent civil war wiped out this vibrant haven of life. By 1992, Gorongosa had lost 95% of its wildlife. Today, the national park is emerging from its ashes. Behind this miracle, the dynamism of the ecosystems and the collaboration between the Mozambican government and an American philanthropist around an idea: to make the protected area an engine of development for the local populations.
© Olivier Grunewald & Bernadette Gilbertas