30 years ago, a young person named Jadav “Molai” began seeding along a dry sandbar in northern India’s Assam region to develop a forest sanctuary for wild animals. Then he determined to devote his life to this project, so he moved to the site so he could work full-time developing a rich new forest environment. Amazingly, the spot today hosts a vast 1,360 acres of jungle that Payeng planted.
It started way back in 1979, when floods washed a large number of snakes ashore on the sand. One day, Payeng, only 16 then, found the place dotted with the dead animals. That was the turning point of his life.
“The snakes died in the heat, without any tree protect. It was carnage. I informed the forest section and asked them if they could develop trees there. They stated nothing would develop there. Instead, they requested me to try growing bamboo. that was so painful, but I did it There was no one to help me. No one was serious says 47 years old Payeng
While it’s taken years for Payeng’s remarkable commitment to planting to receive some well-deserved reputation worldwide, it didn’t take long for wildlife in the region to benefit from the manufactured forest. Demonstrating a keen understanding of environmental balance, Payeng even transplanted ants to his growing ecosystem to improve its natural harmony. Soon the shadeless sandbar was converted into a self-functioning ecosystem where a menagerie of animals could live. The forest, called the Molai forest, now serves as a safe haven for numerous birds, deer, rhinos, tigers and elephants — species increasingly at risk from habitat loss.
Regardless of the conspicuousness of Payeng’s challenge, forestry officials in the region first learned of this new forest in 2008 — and since then they’ve come to recognize his efforts as truly remarkable, but perhaps not enough.