This Man Planted A Tree Every Day On A Remote Island For 40 Years – You Won’t Recognize The Place Now
When Jadav Payeng was 16 years old, he began planting trees. He planted so many trees, he was able to reverse the effects of global warming on the remote, river island he calls home, while inspiring thousands of people in the process. This is the story of The Forest Man.
Impending Climate Change
Hailing from an island located in the Brahmaputra River in eastern India, Payeng understands the Earth’s natural environment is truly on the brink of disaster, not only affecting his home but the entire world. “I feel sad when I see people [cutting down] trees,” Payeng explained. “We have to save the nature or else we all will perish.”
A Sinking Ship
Payeng’s island home of Majuli was in a dire situation. It was disappearing. Over the last 70 years, the island has shrunk to half its size due to global warming and extensive soil erosion. Luckily, Payeng was able to plant enough trees to prevent the island from going completely under, something that would have been very likely had he not stepped up.
The Birth Of The Forest Man
It all started in 1979 when snakes began washing up on the island’s sandbar. The snakes quickly began dying from excessive heat because the island’s banks were void of vegetation to keep them cool. That’s when Payeng knew he needed to take action. Forty years and thousands of trees later, the sandy banks look totally different.
A Forest To Call His Own
Payeng himself has planted an unbelievable 550 hectares of forest – an area larger than Central Park in New York City – and he doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. “It may take another 30 years, but I am optimistic about it. I will never stop and that is the only way Majuli will survive,” he said.
Return Of The Wild
Now that Payeng has created a new, lush environment on the island, wildlife has begun returning. A herd of more than 100 elephants visits the island annually, along with Indian rhinoceros and endangered Bengal tigers. Payeng has made an impact not only on these animals and his island’s people, but on those around the world who are inspired by his story and can learn from his example.
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