Amongst the ecologically fragile mangroves of La Tirana, Jiquilisco.

El Salvador’s Coastal Mangrove Forests

There are two major mangrove forests on El Salvador’s coast: Barra de Santiago in the west, and Bahía de Jiquilisco in the east. The mangroves are one of the most biologically complex ecosystems on earth, and, as highly effective carbon sinks, front-line defense against climate change.

In the 1940s an environmental tragedy nearly wiped out the Bermuda cedar.

The Bermuda Cedar

The Bermuda cedar (Juniperus bermudiana) is a symbol of survival for islanders, who have depended on the sturdy evergreen from the first days of human habitation on Bermuda. Nearly wiped out in the 1940s, the cedar is slowly making a comeback thanks to strong reforesting efforts.

Close up of white-petaled naupaka flowers in the Oahu mountains.

Pele Legends in Hawaii

Pele, the goddess of fire, features in many Hawaiian legends, most of which showcase her fiery nature. Here are two, one to explain the curious appearance of certain flowers, and another a cautionary tale about the consequences of stealing her lava rocks.

‘Akaka Falls plunges down into a pool near Hilo, Hawaii.

‘Akaka Falls State Park on the Big Island

Everybody’s idea of a pristine Hawaiian valley is viewable at ‘Akaka Falls State Park, one of the most easily accessible forays into Hawai‘i’s beautiful interior. Many varieties of plants that would be in window pots anywhere else are giants here, almost trees.

Buildings cluster along the hillside beyond a citrus orchard in Bodrum, Turkey.

Wild and Cultivated Plants in Turkey

You may be surprised to learn that tulips originate in Turkey, not in Holland. Anatolia is one of the world’s pantries, with plants that have been cultivated for human and animal sustenance since prehistory, and Turkey is one of the few countries in the world to be self-sustaining in food production and still make exports.

Olive trees on a hillside in Turkey.

Turkish Olives and Olive Oil

In 2013, Turkey became the fifth-largest olive oil producer in the world. Turkish olives are so different—and prized so highly for the oil they make—than those cultivated in the rest of Europe because of the sandy soil in which the trees grow, the prevalence of a sea breeze, and the sheer variety of the fruits.

Colorful poled barges in Mexico City's Xochimilco Gardens.

The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

Around the 13th century, the Xochimilcas cultivated manmade islands, building a network of floating gardens to help support a continual harvest. Today, these remaining gardens are a popular destination in the south of Mexico City.