Green – Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants Entire Forest

Post : Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants Entire Forest

Posted : April 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm
Author : puclmangalore
Categories : Uncategorized

Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants Entire Forest
Written by Stephen Messenger
A little over 30 years ago, a teenager named Jadav “Molai” Payeng
began burying seeds along a barren sandbar near his birthplace in
northern India’s Assam ( region to
grow a refuge for wildlife. Not long after, he decided to dedicate his
life to this endeavor, so he moved to the site where he could work
full-time creating a lush new forest ecosystem. Incredibly, the spot
today hosts a sprawling 1,360 acre of jungle that Payeng planted

The Times of India

recently caught up with Payeng in his remote forest lodge to learn
more about how he came to leave such an indelible mark on the

It all started way back in 1979 when floods washed a large number of
snakes ashore on the sandbar. One day, after the waters had receded,
Payeng , only 16 then, found the place dotted with the dead reptiles.
That was the turning point of his life.

“The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and
wept over their lifeless forms. It was carnage . I alerted the forest
department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said
nothing would grow there. Instead, they asked me to try growing
bamboo. It was painful, but I did it. There was nobody to help me.
Nobody was interested,” says Payeng, now 47.

While it’s taken years for Payeng’s remarkable dedication to planting
to receive some well-deserved recognition internationally, it didn’t
take long for wildlife in the region to benefit from the manufactured
forest. Demonstrating a keen understanding of ecological balance,
Payeng even transplanted ants to his burgeoning ecosystem to bolster
its natural harmony. Soon the shadeless sandbar was transformed into a
self-functioning environment where a menagerie of creatures could
dwell. The forest, called the Molai woods, now serves as a safe haven
for numerous birds, deers, rhinos, tigers, and elephants — species
increasingly at risk from habitat loss elsewhere.

Despite the conspicuousness of Payeng’s project, Forestry officials in
the region first learned of this new forest in 2008 — and since then
they’ve come to recognize his efforts as truly remarkable, but perhaps
not enough.

“We’re amazed at Payeng,” says Assistant Conservator of Forests, Gunin
Saikia. “He has been at it for 30 years. Had he been in any other
country, he would have been made a hero.”

This post was originally published by TreeHugger


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