In Assam, India you’ll find the Molai Forest, one of the most unique places on the planet. During the 1970’s, the world’s largest river island was at risk of sinking into the sea because it sits on top of a sandbar. In the early 1980’s, an enormous forest miraculously appeared out of nowhere and saved the entire island from sinking into the sea. The most special thing about it? It was built by a real life Johnny Appleseed.
Meet Jadav Payeng, a lifelong forestry worker. Back in 1979 he started to notice the lack of plant life on his small island of just 150,000 inhabitants. The island had lost half of its size due to erosion and something needed to be done.
His solution was simple: plant a diverse forest to grow the roots necessary to prevent erosion. Since starting his work, his “forest” has grown to over 1,360 acres, which is larger than Central Park.
Inside the forest, he was careful to build an incredibly diverse array of trees and plants. This created a true to life ecosystem.
His work was so good, in fact, that not only did Bengal Tigers, Elephants, and a host of animals naturally move into the forest, but filmmaker William Douglas McMaster recently crowdfunded a documentary film on Kickstarter about his work. The film is called “Forest Man.”
You can check out the documentary below. It’s a bit long, but 1000% worth it.
(YouTube via This Is Colossal) Payeng’s work, which has been credited with significantly fortifying the island, is a true example of the affect one individual can have on the world. This of course begs the question – what have we done lately?