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Jadav Molai Payeng Forest ManJadav Payeng

Jadav Payeng is an environmental activist and forestry worker from Jorhat, Assam, India. He upgraded a chapori of the river Brahmaputra to a reserve forest. The name of the forest is Mulai Kathoni. It is located near Kokilamukh of Jorhat, Assam, India, with a total area of about 1000 hectares.

Born : Jadav Payeng 1963 (age 49–50) Assam, India

Other Name : Mulai

Occupation : Forester


Photo Slide Show


Payeng started his journey of plantation in 1979. He started working on the forest in 1980 when the social forestry division of Golaghat district launched a scheme of tree plantation on 200 hectares at Aruna Chapori situated at a distance of 5 km from Kokilamukh in Jorhat district. Mulai was one of the labourers who worked in that project which was completed after five years. He chose to stay back after the completion of the project as others left. He not only looked after the plants, but continued to plant more trees on his own effort slowly transforming the area into a big forest.

The forest, now known in Assamese as Mulai Kathoni or Mulai forest or Mulai Garden, houses around four Bengal tigers, three Indian rhinoceros, over 100 deer and rabbits besides apes and innumerable varieties of birds, including a large number of vultures. There are several thousand trees, including valcol, arjun (Terminalia arjuna), ejar (Lagerstroemia speciosa), goldmohur (Delonix regia), koroi (Albizia procera), moj (Archidendron bigeminum) and himolu (Bombax ceiba). Bamboo covers an area of over 300 hectares.

A herd of around 100 elephants regularly visits the forest every year and generally stay for around six months. They also gave birth to 10 calves in the forest in recent times.

His efforts came into the limelight during 2008 when forest department officials went to the area in search of a herd of 115 elephants that snuck into the forest after damaging property of villagers at Aruna chapori, around 1.5 km from the forest. The officials were surprised to see such a large and dense forest and since then the department is showing interest on conservation with regular visit to the site.

A few years back, poachers tried to kill the rhinos staying in the forest but failed in their attempt due to Mulai who alerted department officials. Officials promptly seized various articles used by the poachers to trap the animals.

Mulai is ready to manage the forest in a better way and to go to other places of the state to start a similar venture. Now his aim is to spread his forest to Bongoan of Majuli.

Personal life

Jadav Payeng lives in a small hut in the forest. Binita, his wife, and his 3 children (two sons and a daughter) accompany him. He has cattle and buffalo on his farm and sells the milk for his livelihood, which is his only source of income. In a recent interview he revealed that he lost around 100 of his cows and buffaloes to the tigers in the forest, but blames the people who carry out large scale encroachment and destruction of forests as the root cause of the plight of wild animals.


Future Plans

Mulai in a recent interview said that if the Forest Department promises to manage the forest in a better way, then he would go to other places of the state (Assam) to start a similar venture.



Not only tourists are flocking to the woods in droves, a famous British film-maker Tom Robert went there two years back to shoot one of his films.


Jadav Payeng was honoured at a public function arranged by the School of Environmenal Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University on 22nd April, 2012 for his remarkable achievement. He shared his experience of creating a forest in an interactive session, where Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh and JNU vice-chancellor Sudhir Kumar Sopory were present. Sopory named Jadav Payeng as "Forest Man of India"


Source : wikipedia





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