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One Man Single-Handedly Planted a Forest Larger than New York's Central Park

The story has become an award-winning documentary, Forest Man, through the craft of Toronto-based film-maker William Douglas McMaster.

McMaster picked up the story on Reddit and followed a lead who claimed to know the man, Payeng, who started planting trees in 1979.

Zi-Ann Lum of the Huffington Post Canada tells the story of how Payeng got started and how McMaster came to make his film.  She quotes McMaster:

“We hear stories all the time about environmental destruction, and we’re numb to it. Millions of acres of destroyed rainforest is nearly impossible for a person to imagine,” said the Toronto-based filmmaker.

To McMaster, “Forest Man” stands out because it counters a cataclysmic narrative commonly linked to stories of climate change. Today, Payeng’s forest measures 1,400 acres, a remarkable accomplishment that dwarfs Central Park’s 843 acres. Rhinoceroses, deer, tigers, and as many as 115 elephants have moved in to the dense forest. Vultures have also returned to the area for the first time in 40 years.

“What Payeng has done is to show that a single person can make a measurable, positive impact on the environment,” said McMaster

Read the story here.  Watch the documentary on YouTube here.