Man Plants Huge Forest By Hand

In the heart of India, in the province of Assam, on an island called Majuli in the middle of the Brahmaputra River, one man has spent 38 years planting a forest larger than Central Park… by himself and by hand! This is the story of Jadav Payeng, who was born on Majuli at a time when environmental destruction was eroding the island and turning it into a wasteland unfit for native plants or animals. And his wasn’t the only one; neighboring island Jorhat was encountering the same problems, so Payeng decided to do something about it.

He says at first it was hard to plant, both because there was nothing to go off of and because he had to gather the seeds from outside sources. However, now his trees are old enough that he can gather their seeds on site and replant in the surrounding area, in an effort to speed up their natural processes. It truly has been a return to natural order for the small islands; they now host 115 elephants for part of the year, as well as many rhinos, deer, and tigers (!) year round. He wants to continue this until the forest is no longer a novelty on part of the islands, but rather covers both of them.

His neighbors have not always been the most understanding people when it comes to Payeng’s intense environmentalism and guardianship of the forest. They still come every once in awhile to harvest the trees for their own personal use, but Payeng decries the practice whenever he’s able. “I tell people, cutting those trees will get you nothing,” he says. “Cut me before you cut my trees.” Still he’s hopeful for the future, in light of all he has already accomplished. And he’s nothing if not determined. “I will continue to plant until my last breath.”


Meet the Man Who Planted a Forest

This man began planting a forest in 1979—and now it's the size of Central Park.

National Geographic 发布于 2016年5月10日