The young teenager Jadav “Molai” Payeng decided to help nature out a little bit and started planting trees over thirty years ago. He planted the seeds next to a very and deserted sandbar closely to his birthplace in the Assam region, India. Jadav wanted to create a habitat for wildlife and oppose people who were cutting trees down.
Jadav later decided that he would dedicate his life to building his own forest and planting trees. For almost every day for 37 years, the man planted seeds and has successfully built a whole new ecosystem. It’s estimated that the forest now approaches a size of 1,360 acres. For comparison, Central Park only has a surface area of 778 acres.
The turning point for Jadav was when he found a number of dead snakes in the sandy area after a flood. The deceased reptiles encouraged him to build a habitat where animals wouldn’t need to feel threatened or have their homes taken away from them.
“The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms. It was carnage. I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said nothing would grow there. Instead, they asked me to try growing bamboo. It was painful, but I did it. There was nobody to help me. Nobody was interested,” the now 47-year-old said to The Times of India.
The very dedicated Indian arborist has truly built an ecological paradise for wildlife, a fantastic example of how beautiful nature can be. Jadav’s forest is the home to over 115 elephants, a number of rhinos, deer and even a couple of tigers.
“I will continue to plant until my last breath,” Jadav said.