Tree Heroes: Jadav Payeng

Every day we are surrounded by information and news that can make us feel overwhelmed by the current state of the world. Our Facebook newsfeeds are full of stories about environmental destruction, political unrest and social upheaval. We don’t have to look very hard to see the ways in which humans have disregarded their environment often with catastrophic results.

But every so often there is an individual, or even a group of people, who are dedicated to figuring out ways to make the world a bit better – and a bit greener. ‘Share the Wonder’ features various people who are do amazing and inspiring work in restoring and contributing to the world we live. One tree at a time.

Jadav Payeng is one such individual. Born in 1963 in Jorhat, India, Jadav has a simple but vital goal in his life – to plant trees. In 1979, he planted 20 bamboo seedlings on the tree-less sandbar next to the Brahmaputra River of Majuli Island, North-Eastern India. Majuli Island is recognized as the largest river island in the world but has steadily been shrinking due to soil erosion. Jadav didn’t stop with his 20 seedlings all those years ago and has kept planting trees since then. Today he is responsible for what is known as the Molai Forest, about 550 hectares of forest. The seedlings that became a forest not only help deal with issues of erosion, but also serve as a home to many animals including Bengal tigers, vultures and a herd of over 100 elephants.

“My dream is to fill up Majuli Island and Jorhat with forest again. I will continue to plant until my last breath,” he says. It’s as simple as that.


You can find out more about Jadav’s incredible story and contribution in this beautiful short documentary “Forest Man”. Be sure to pay a visit to his website to stay up to date with the incredible work that Jadav is involved in.


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