Almost four decades ago Jadav Payeng embarked on an impressive project.

He decided that he wanted to save his beloved hometown. Located a few kilometers north of Jorhat in India, on the banks of the might Brahmaputra, Majuli is the world's largest river island and it's home to about 150,000 people. Since 1917, this island has lost more than half its landmass to erosion. This rate has accelerated recently and in 15 to 20 years the island can be completely gone, according to scientists.

In order to save his island, Jadav Payeng would have to go way beyond words and start taking action. And so it is that he has been planting trees in the middle of a barren wasteland and has single-handedly planted an entire forest that is now larger than Central Park in New York City.

A photographer discovered, almost by chance, what this one man was doing. He wrote an article about it that had a ripple effect and earned him the title 'Forest Man.'

According to Payeng, once the trees grew it became difficult to protect them from humans who were only interested in destroying the forest to make money. This would have caused the many animal species that live there to be without a home. Because of its density the forest now has elephants, rhinoceros, deer, and tigers.

Payeng has won many awards for his incredible achievements, but awards frustrate him. He has many other brilliant ideas to stop erosion and to save the island, but so far nobody has paid attention. This humble and passionate man takes us on a journey into his incredible forest. Watch it now.

Download the original soundtrack by Mike Ritchie.

June 29, 2017 Living photo: Forest Man

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