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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Indian man single-handedly plants a 1,360-acre forest


A little more than 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 acres of jungle that Payeng planted — single-handedly.
 
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 landscape.
 
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, deer, rhinos, tigers and elephants — species increasingly at risk from habitat loss.
 
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 Gunin Saikia, assistant conservator of Forests. "He has been at it for 30 years. Had he been in any other country, he would have been made a hero."

Copyrighted article, taken from here

4 comments:

Sustainable Green Initiative said...

Today is World Forest Day:


Pls see http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=508276742562950&set=a.505460916177866.1073741828.504748396249118&type=1&theater

Rajesh Makhija said...

We truly salute the efforts of Mr. Payeng for single-handedly creating a forest off a sandbar. At Grow-Trees.com, aim to take this initiative further, to allow users to plant trees and gift them to their loved ones from the comforts of their homes. We currently have tree plantations at over 10 different locations all over India. Do visit our website to know more.

Donna Dawson said...

This man is a remarkable human being. He has made a mark on that land that will last forever and think about all the wildlife that he has saved.
http://www.onlineplantnursery.com/conifers/

EnvironmentCare.in said...

Plant the Tress and Save the Earth....So we need environmental services and pollution control management for protect and keep clean the environment.