Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Grassroots Restoration Story from India


Indian man single-handedly plants a 1,360-acre forest (and changes the story)

Jadav Payeng turned a barren sandbar in northern India into a lush new forest ecosystem.

A little more than 30 years ago, a teenager named Jadav "Molai" Payeng began burying seeds along a barren sandbar near his birthplace in northern India's Assam region to grow a refuge for wildlife. Not long after, he decided to dedicate his life to this endeavor, so he moved to the site so he could work full-time creating a lush new forest ecosystem. Incredibly, the spot today hosts a sprawling 1,360 acres of jungle that Payeng planted — single-handedly.

The Times of India recently caught up with Payeng in his remote forest lodge to learn more about how he came to leave such an indelible mark on the landscape.

It all started way back in 1979, when floods washed a large number of snakes ashore on the sandbar. One day, after the waters had receded, Payeng, only 16 then, found the place dotted with the dead reptiles. That was the turning point of his life.

"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," says Payeng, now 47.

While it's taken years for Payeng's remarkable dedication to planting to receive some well-deserved recognition internationally, it didn't take long for wildlife in the region to benefit from the manufactured forest. Demonstrating a keen understanding of ecological balance, Payeng even transplanted ants to his burgeoning ecosystem to bolster its natural harmony. Soon the shadeless sandbar was transformed into a self-functioning environment where a menagerie of creatures could dwell. The forest, called the Molai woods, now serves as a safe haven for numerous birds, deer, rhinos, tigers and elephants — species increasingly at risk from habitat loss.

Despite the conspicuousness of Payeng's project, forestry officials in the region first learned of this new forest in 2008 — and since then they've come to recognize his efforts as truly remarkable, but perhaps not enough.

"We're amazed at Payeng," says Gunin Saikia, assistant conservator of Forests. "He has been at it for 30 years. Had he been in any other country, he would have been made a hero."

With thanks to Bron Taylor, http://www.brontaylor.com professor of Religion and Environmental Ethics at U of FLA.


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Pay attention to the open skies, you never know what will be coming down.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

NYTimes.com: Panelรข€™s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come

Nobody on this planet will be untouched by climate change and the worst is yet to come.
 
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Panel's Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come

By JUSTIN GILLIS

A United Nations report warned that climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and is likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

White House fights global warming with data

More public access to data to help communities cope with climate change.

http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/White-House-fights-global-warming-with-data-5332795.php


"Pay attention to the open skies"

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Retracing OR-7's Journey to California

It should be quite a story to follow: Group retracing trek of wandering Oregon wolf OR-7.


"Pay attention to the open skies"