Since 1979, a man named Jadav Payeng has grown a whole forest of more than 550 hectares on his own to reduce the consequences of erosion . Or a larger area than Central Park New York! And the craziest thing is that he did all this with his hands as the only tool, without outside help … and planting one tree at a time.
Majuli Island is located in northern India. It is a giant sandbar that is home to more than 150,000 people and is one of the largest river islands in the world. On this island, we find the forest of Moli, an atypical forest, unique in the world and for good reason: It was only planted by this man.
“Forest man” as it is called there, and these trees are the adventure of a lifetime, the result of 30 years of intensive work.
Here is the story, worthy of Jean Giono, of this exceptional man who planted a forest to save his island.
Because of the lack of trees to stabilize the soil with their roots , the island of Majuli has lost more than half of its surface in the last century due to erosion. Blame it on huge dikes that have been built in cities upstream of the river, which has profoundly altered the flow of water. At this rate, Majuli could have disappeared completely within 15 to 20 years.
But it was not counting on Jadav Payeng , who to remedy the problem began to plant thousands and thousands of trees and plants. Day by day, year after year, it took him incredible patience to carry out this Herculean task.
In 1979, following major floods, hundreds of water snakes washed up on the island and died of exhaustion. Jadav tells the Times of India that this was the trigger for his incredible adventure:
“There were no trees to protect these snakes. So I sat down, and cried. I contacted the Ministry of Forests and asked them if they could plant trees. They said that it would be useless to try, that nothing would ever grow anyway. As I insisted, they told me that I only had to plant bamboo.
It was hard but I did it.
And all alone. “
Photo: Molai Woods, crédit: Flickr
For the next thirty years, Jadav got down to work and planted thousands of plants … including more than 300 hectares of bamboo!
WATCH the documentary Forest Man the man who planted a forest:
The work and dedication of Jadav has had the effect of fortifying the island in a meaningful and sustainable way . In addition to this: its forest provides new habitat for many endangered animals, who have returned to settle in the area. A herd of a hundred or so elephants, Bengal tigers, and even a species of vulture that seemed to have disappeared for more than 40 years!
That’s what we give back a little faith in humanity …
Video In Northeast India, the largest river island in the world sinks into the waters of the Brahmaputra.