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. Orange (final selects) marks photos that reached the last round, blue (published) those appearing in the magazine.