In 1979 Jadav Payeng started planting trees on a small Indian island threatened by erosion and ravaged by floods that had led to widespread deforestation and animal losses.
Thirty-seven years later and the environmental activist (from the Mishing tribal community) has single-handedly planted an entire forest.
His trees transformed into a lush forest spanning more than 1,000 hectares and are now home to wild elephants, rhinos, tigers, and deer.
In a short documentary film, photographer Jitu Kalita (who also lives in the Jorhat district) reveals the heart-warming tale behind Payeng, who has been crowned the “Forest Man of India”.
It shows how a “modern-day Johnny Appleseed turned an eroding desert into a wondrous oasis.”
Funded in part by Kickstarter, “Forest Man” was directed by William Douglas McMaster and won Best Documentary for American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.
Extracted from Konbini.