Draped in moss and fringed with ferns, the laurel forests of Madeira are echoes of the ecosystems that held sway across southern Europe millions of years ago. Norway-based photographer Orsolya Haarberg recalls that when she hiked among these trees, some perhaps 800 years old, she felt as if she were “entering a holy space.” Haarberg’s images, which ran in our May 2022 issue, bring attention to the beauty of Europe’s old-growth forests. About 2 percent of the European Union’s forested area is undisturbed by human activity, preserving a rich tapestry of nature.
Haarberg took 522 images in the field in Madeira. Photo Editor Kurt Mutchler had the tough job of choosing among them.