Categorized | Environment, Features, Media

The Man Who Planted Trees

 

Single-Handedly Planting a 1,360 Acre Forest

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Deforestation and desertification are critical problems in India that have led to barren land, increased soil erosion, decreased agricultural production, and devastated
local wildlife.  

However one Indian man has made a stand – by single-handedly
planting and cultivating a 1,360 acre forest that is home to a complex,
thriving ecosystem.

Jadav “Molai” Payeng started his project 30 years ago when he was still a teenager.  Then, in 1979, flood waters washed a large number of snakes ashore on the local sandbar in Jorhat, some 350 km from Guwahati.  When the waters receded, Payneg– who was 16 at the time– noticed the reptiles had died due to a lack of forestry.

“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,” said Payeng, who is now 47.

Payeng chose to live on the sandbar, starting a life of isolation as he began work to create a new forest.  Planting the seeds by hand, watering the plants in the morning and evening, and pruning them when required, he cultivated a huge natural reserve.

After a few years, the sandbar was transformed into a bamboo thicket.

“I then decided to grow proper trees.  I collected and planted them.  I also transported red ants from my village, and was stung many times.  Red ants change the soil’s properties. That was an experience,” Payeng recalled.

Over the years, the reserve has seen a huge variety of flora and fauna blossom on the sandbar, including endangered animals like the one-horned rhino and Royal Bengal tiger.

“After 12 years, we’ve seen vultures.  Migratory birds, too, have started flocking here.  Deer and cattle have attracted predators,” claims Payeng. 

Unfortunately, locals reportedly killed a rhino which was seen in his forest, something that Payeng clearly disapproves of.  

”Nature has made a food chain; why can’t we stick to it?  Who
would protect these animals if we, as superior beings, start
hunting them?” Payeng said.

Amazingly, the Assam state forest department only learned about Payeng’s forest  in 2008 when a herd of some 100 wild elephants strayed into it after marauding through villages nearby.  It was then that assistant conservator of forests Gunin Saikia met Payeng for the first time.

“We were surprised to find such a dense forest on the sandbar.  Locals, whose homes had been destroyed by the pachyderms, wanted to cut down the forest, but Payeng dared them to kill him instead.  
He treats the trees and animals like his own children.  
Seeing this, we, too, decided to pitch in,” says Saikia.

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

(Via The Times of India)

 

 

Decades later, the lush ecosystem he created is now a safe haven for a variety of large and small species that include birds, deer, rhinos, tigers and elephants impacted by extensive habitat loss.

Payeng makes a living in the forest he planted, rearing cows and selling milk in the nearest town with his wife and three children.

The extraordinary, yet humble, eco-conscious farmer stands as a shining example of what one person can accomplish to make the world a better place.  Now he is planning on devoting his next 30 years to planting another forest.

He says, “I feel sad when I see people felling trees.  We have to save the nature, or else we all will perish.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Our appreciation goes to Onahunttoday who sent this article along to us, and author Timon Singh of Inhabitat.com.

We feel everyone can and should make a difference in the world, making it a better place for future generations.  We like stories of those bringing about positive change, leading by example with ethical values and a strong moral will, and who often are the inspiring underdog bringing better things about for all through their sheer determination.

You can do it too.  In your own way, in your own community, with your own ideas and imagination.  Be inspired.  Plant a seed.  Grow a tree.  Like Payeng walking in his forest below, you, too, can make the magic happen.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

One Response to “The Man Who Planted Trees”

  1. Sika says:

    I always like to hear about planting trees all over the world. It helps us and nature in so many ways.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • We interrupt the panic for a few facts about ISIS
    Gary Brecher, Pando  - The “Iraqi Army” routed by ISIS wasn’t really a national army, and ISIS isn’t really a dominant military force. It was able to occupy those cities because they were vacuums, abandoned by a weak, sectarian force. Moving into vacuums like this is what ISIS is good at. And that’s the only thing ISIS is good at. ISIS is a sectarian Sunni m […]
  • Pocket paradigms
    Today almost every principle upon which this country was founded is being turned on its head. Instead of liberty we are being taught to prefer order, instead of democracy we are taught to be follow directions, instead of debate we are inundated with propaganda. Most profoundly, American citizens are no longer considered by their elites to be members or even […]
  • Word
    It takes your enemy and your friend, working together to hurt you: the one to slander you, and the other to bring the news to you - Mark Twain […]
  • Americans desert those who brought them the 7 day, 40 hour work week
    GALLUP […]
  • Obama's no win approach to the Mid East
    Shamus Cooke, Truth Out - By attacking the Islamic State in Syria, Obama will become a de facto ally of the Syrian government, just as Obama and ISIS were de facto allies when they were both targeting Bashar al-Assad. Most Americans are likely fed up with Obama’s zig-zagging foreign policy, and with each new u-turn support drops for the next war.But the US h […]
  • Real eonomics
    Income gap between the top 5% and the bottom 20% is currently the largest on record […]
  • Record album sales hit two decade low
    Billboard - This week's 3.97-million album sales tally is the smallest weekly sum for album sales since Nielsen Sound Scan began tracking data in 1991. It's also the first time weekly sales have fallen below four million in that time span. […]
  • Word: Alexander Hamilton on police officers
    One of the best descriptions of the proper role of a law enforcement officer was that delivered by Hamilton to the first group of officers of the Revenue Marine, later the US Coast Guard. Said Hamilton: "While I recommend in the strongest terms to the respective officers, activity, vigilance and firmness, I feel no less solicitude that their deportment […]
  • Poll: Ukraine
    Huffington Post - According to the survey, only 29 percent of Americans think the U.S. has a responsibility to defend Ukraine in the case of a Russian invasion, while 38 percent think it does not. Another 33 percent said they're not sure. […]
  • Major media censors labor out of talk shows
    FAIR - According to a search of the Sunday morning talkshows for this year (January-August), not a single representative of a labor union appeared on any of the four network programs (NBC's Meet the Press, ABC's This Week, Fox News Sunday and CBS's Face the Nation).... The Sunday shows did, however, find time to hear the views of corporate Ame […]
  • Union made cookout shopping list
    […]
  • American black ops Frankenstein faces its monster
    Richard Brenneman - For years the American government’s black ops boys and girls stirred up religious fundamentalists to rise up against strong central governments, invoking populist justifications.Needless to say, students of history will recognize parallels with other extremists bent on purification through extermination of “impure” or parasitic elements.A […]
  • Corporate tax turncoats growing
    Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone -   Companies striking deals to become technically foreign can be found in all corners of American business, from California computer-equipment manufacturer Applied Materials to Minnesota medical-device giant Medtronic to North Carolina ­based banana behemoth Chiquita. Little is changing in the core business of these firms. They […]
  • The plastic curse in our oceans
    Charles J, Moore, NY Times -  I have just returned with a team of scientists from six weeks at sea conducting research in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — one of five major garbage patches drifting in the oceans north and south of the equator at the latitude of our great terrestrial deserts. Although it was my 10th voyage to the area, I was utterly shocked […]
  • How California's one percent is still getting its water
    Alternet - While most of California worries, cuts back and braces for the worst of this epic drought, the Golden State's 1-percenters are staying flush with water. While some are obeying public water restrictions and having it shipped in by the truckload to their mansions in the tony exurbs of Santa Barbara County, others are just breaking the rules and […]