Forest Man: A film about how one person CAN make a difference

The year 2015 is designated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations as the International Year of Soils, with the aim to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions.

I am posting this inspiring film about Jadav Payeng in support of this month’s Earth-Friendly Challenge — on the topic of SOIL — hosted by Just Another Nature Enthusiast.

In 1979, when Payeng was 16, he started to plant each and every tree of what is now 1,300 acres of a pristine tropical woodland — and singlehandedly created a forest that is larger than New York City’s Central Park.

From the website, Plaid Zebra:

Payeng first became interested in planting the forest after noticing the effects of desertification on the island’s wildlife.

According to the Water Resources Management journal, “An estimated 175 Mha [million hectares] of land in India, constituting about 53 per cent of the total geographical area (329 Mha), suffers from deleterious effects of soil erosion…”

The North-East Indian forest created by Jadav Payeng is now home to 115 elephants, 100 deer, numerous rhinos, Bengal tigers, apes, rabbits and vultures.

This inspiring documentary film is narrated by photojournalist, Jitu Kalita and made by Canadian filmmaker William Douglas McMaster. Jitu Kalita is a wildlife photographer and the person who discovered — and wrote about — the forest created by Jadav Payeng.

The next time you feel hopeless about environmental problems, or overwhelmed about the depressing news on climate change and start to think “what does it matter what I do…what difference is it going to make…I’m only one person…there is nothing I can do…” please think about what Jadav Payeng accomplished, starting with one tree.

Related: Article on the Earth Island Journal The Lone Green Warrior

Jadav Payeng photo

Jadav Payeng photo via article on Earth Island Journal

Have you heard of Jadav Payeng?  He is around the same age as I am…and it is amazing that in his lifetime thus far, he managed to create a forest that is larger than NYC’s famed Central Park.

Let me know what you think of this film, and if you can, please do join in this month’s Earth-Friendly challenge.

7 thoughts on “Forest Man: A film about how one person CAN make a difference

  1. This is a beautiful story, Lola Jane. I admire how Jadav Payeng noticed a problem and became the solution. His perseverance and vision shows a doable plan to re-forest much the same as Rajendra Singh found a way to use traditional methods for building earthen dams to bring water to a drought-stricken area of India.

    I strongly urge readers to take the time to sip a cup of tea or coffee and to view this video. It is very inspiring.

    I have one fear… As Jadav points out… the only danger to his forest is the human animal. I wonder if his forest is afforded any kind of added protection now that his project has been in the news.

    • Jane, good point about the human element, and the darker side of having this huge forest home for endangered animals…

      I read in the Earth Island Journal article:

      “…In another incident in 2012, gunshots were heard one night. When Payeng went to investigate along with several villagers and forest officials, he found a dead rhino with a missing horn. Following that event, forest officials have begun to regularly visit the forest, and the local villagers also keep a vigilant eye out for poachers and timber smugglers.”

      I suppose it was just a matter of time before poachers found the place…and always, illegal logging is a problem, as it is in my home country, The Philippines.

  2. Exactly right about human beings…I hope we continue to evolve and do more beautiful things, like the Forest Man.

    The little nephew, suspicious of the camera in the beginning of the film is too adorable. And I’m glad you took the time to watch and comment on this inspiring film, Jane 🙂 .

Now that you are here, I would love to know what you think...comments are always appreciated.