This photographer wants you to be passionate about peatlands

Based in Argentina, Luján Agusti is roaming the globe to focus on the lesser known but crucial role of these landscapes in absorbing carbon.

“When I want to feel at peace,” says Luján Agusti, “I think of a Patagonian landscape.” Vast and sometimes inhospitable, Argentina’s Patagonia is miles of steppe and desert stretching from the Atlantic to the Andes. A National Geographic Explorer, Agusti photographs this region and the people who make it their home from her base in Ushuaia in southernmost Argentina.

Agusti zooms in on stories deeply rooted in place. She has documented women in Tierra del Fuego weaving with sustainably sourced local wool, spent time with Indigenous Mapuche women trying to preserve ancestral practices, and visited solitary gauchos living in the steppe and the peatlands—wetland systems with accumulations of partly decayed plants.

These spongy areas are the focus of her latest project, supported by the Climate Pledge—companies aiming for net-zero carbon emissions by 2040—and by the National Geographic Society. Agusti will document the beauty of peatlands on four continents and their role in storing huge amounts of carbon. People tend to avoid these boggy ecosystems, she says. “I want to show the peatlands as landscapes that have always been disregarded but are now so important for humanity’s survival.”

The National Geographic Society has funded the work of Luján Agusti since 2018. Learn more about its support of Explorers at natgeo.com/impact.

This story appears in the January 2023 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Read This Next

Grief drove a photographer to India. She found joy.
Why do we age?
What causes earthquakes?

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet