Stephen Messenger April 2, 2012
A little over 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 where he could work full-time creating a lush new forest ecosystem. Incredibly, the spot today hosts a sprawling 1,360 acre of jungle that Payeng planted single-handedly.
The forest, called the Molai woods, now serves as a safe haven for numerous birds, deers, rhinos, tigers, and elephants -- species increasingly at risk from habitat loss elsewhere.