He transformed a 550-hectare barren sandbar on the Brahmaputra into a sprawling jungle, single-handedly. At 52, Jadav Payeng now plans to upgrade another sandbar into a forest. His relentless efforts have earned Payeng the “Forest Man of India” title.
Located near Kokilamukh, 12-km away from his village in Assam’s Jorhat district, Mulai Kathoni (Mulai is his nickname) forest is a result of three decades of Payeng’s hard work. The lush forest has over one [sic] lakh trees and is home to leopards, rabbits, apes, birds, snakes, vultures, deer, wild boars and wild buffaloes.
Payeng’s efforts are viewed as significant given Assam’s alarming loss of forest cover in recent years.
From The Hindu:
For the last several years, Piplantri village panchayat has been saving girl children and increasing the green cover in and around it at the same time.
Here, villagers plant 111 trees every time a girl is born and the community ensures these trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up.
Over the last six years, people here have managed to plant over a quarter million trees on the village’s grazing commons— including neem, sheesham, mango, Amla among others.
But this village of 8,000 did not just stop at planting trees and greening their commons. To prevent these trees from being infested with termite, the residents planted over two and a half million Aloevera plants around them. Now these trees, especially the Aloevera, are a source of livelihood for several residents.
Another fascinating post from Mike at Under the Banyan, this time from last year, but still relevant as ever.
The first recorded tree-huggers were villagers in Rajasthan, India who sacrificed themselves in 1730 to protect khejri trees [...] that their community depended on.
The trees were materially important to the villagers in their dry desert landscape. They provided fodder for livestock and firewood for cooking. Their leaves and bark, flowers and sap were used in traditional medicines. The shade they created was a welcome haven for farmers who toiled in the blistering heat.
Maharaja Abhay Singh, the ruler of Jodhpur, had sent men to fell the trees but a brave woman called Amrita Devi offered to sacrifice her life if it would spare one tree. When the axe-men took her up on her offer and severed her head, her three daughters pleaded for the men to kill them too in place of the trees. They paid the same price.
Don’t miss the rest.
It has been raining heavily ever since, and we hope this has given a good start to these saplings. We also uncovered other pooarasam saplings among the weeds, obviously from some previous planting efforts. Let’s hope these saplings grow, along with our kids, into lovely tall, shady trees!