Meet Moirangthem Loiya, the man who transformed barren land to lush forest in Manipur

(Photo: Punshilok: The Spring of Life (MyGov Manipur))

Imphal: Moirangthem Loiya, a 47-year-old man in Manipur’s capital Imphal has converted barren land into a 300 acre forest with a wide variety of plant species in the last 20 years.

In an interview, titled Punshilok: The Spring of Life (MyGov Manipur) Moirangthem Loiya told how his team, Wildlife and habitat Protection Society (WAHPS), decided to grow more than 100 species of trees that are not commonly grown, such as different types of bamboos which were as many as 25 species; collect and preserve over 70 different species of orchids. Calm and composed Moirangthem with utmost zeal told how he is trying to develop the area as a special gene bank as he expressed how rewarding the feeling is when discovering new species of trees by growing themselves.

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In the course of the interview in Punshilok, the 47-year-old appealed not to start forest fire unnecessarily. Narrating how WAHPS has been trying to prevent wildlifes by building firelines, despite the fact that such attempt to stop forest fire seldom do not succeed.

Highlighting, threat to nature as threat to human’s very own existence, Moirangthem opined on the need to expose the future generation, not just limit their understanding of the world within the walls of a class room education, but to take them to outdoor activities, such as trekking, play in the streams and the hills to connect with nature.

“If they love nature, they will automatically save it,” remarked the convinced, 47-year-old Manipuri nature lover.

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Moirangthem Loiya, a nature lover from his childhood days from Imphal West district, hails from Uripok Khaidem Leikai. According to reports, he started planting trees on the outskirts of Imphal city in the Maru Langol hill range about 20 years ago. Once a deserted land, the forest today is said to boasts of being one of the favorite foraging hubs for different species of migrating birds and animals.

In a news report in the Times of India, Moirangthem Loiya was quoted saying, “In early 2000, after completing college from Chennai, when I went to the Koubru mountain, I was appalled by the wide scale deforestation of the previously thick vegetation that marked the Koubru hill ranges. I felt a strong urge to give back to mother nature what we humans as a whole have destroyed so much in modern times.”

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In the TOI news report, Moirangthem said that he encountered the place accidentally while taking a hike and immediately felt the area which was all barren due to jhum cultivation could be converted into a thick green lush forest with time and dedication; “The site served as a home for me for six years, as I lived in isolation in a hut which I had constructed myself, planting bamboo, oak, jackfruit trees and teaks while nurturing the area previously destroyed by human activities,” Moirangthem Loiya who now stays on and off told.

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