Every year, plant one tree and make it survive. The happiness you will get from seeing that plant grow with you is unlike any other. You can enjoy its shade after it grows. You will share a lifelong bond with the tree.
These are the words of Jadav Payeng… He has planted hundreds of trees till today and is known as the Forest Man of India. Let’s know more about him…
Different organisms are dependent on different trees. A forest’s ecosystem is built over many years.
We often get to hear ‘Man destroyed forests and built cement jungles. This is happening across the world.
On the one hand, people are trying to analyse the adverse impact of destroying forests on climate and at the same time, there are some people who are destroying jungles despite knowing the bad effects.
In such a condition, there is one man who built his own forest and that too in India. Can you believe it? It’s true. His name is Jadav Payeng. He is known as the Forest Man of India.
There is an island named Molai on the Brahmaputra River in Jorhat region of Assam. It’s the largest island on a river anywhere in the world. Jadav has built a 550 hectare forest on this island.
Let’s see how big this forest is. 550 hectares is 1,360 acres. One acre is 40 guntha. One guntha can fit one medium size house. This means that the forest is spread over an area of 54,400 medium size houses.
This forest is the result of the work done by Jadav over 30 years. Jadav began planting trees in 1979 when he was just 16 years old.
Once, there was very heavy rainfall and Molai island got flooded. After the flood, there was severe heat. Thousands of snakes had come on the island due to the flood and they died due to the heat. Jadav felt very sad.
He started thinking how he can stop soil erosion and flooding. He was told by the tribals in nearby villages to plant trees. They told him to plant bamboo trees because they can survive in adverse weather conditions. Those tribals gave Jadav 20-25 saplings of bamboo and some seeds. Jadav planted them and sowed the seeds. That’s how his journey began.
Jadav didn’t stop there. He developed a habit of planting trees. It has led to the evergreen forest you see now. He didn’t even attend school. He considered Nature as his teacher.
Every year, he plants new trees in April, May and June months. Rest of the year, he collects seeds from the forest. His forest is home to 120 types of birds, elephants, one-horned rhinoceros and tigers.
He earns his livelihood through dairy business. He feeds the cows in the jungle.
There was an interview of Jadav printed in The Hindu newspaper. The interview was inspiring but one sentence stood out. He was asked about what can be done to stop deforestation across the world. Jadav gave a thought provoking answer. He said, “Teach young children to love nature. Everything else will happen automatically.”
It shows how much confidence he has in children. He also gave a message that the future of jungles is in the hands of children. It is important to implement this.
By: Aniket Konkar
Click here to Subscribe to NisargaRanga