Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Indonesian man spends 24 years transforming fire-ravaged land into lush ecosystem

A man in Indonesia has transformed barren, arid land into a lush ecosystem over the course of 24 years, defying naysayers.

The land in Central Java was destroyed by a fire meant to prepare it for cultivation. Sadiman, 69, said he knew if he didn't plant banyan and ficus trees to store water, the little resources left would dry up. So he planted more than 11,000 trees across 617 acres, and paid for it by selling and bartering goats and plants from his nursery. Eventually, springs formed and water was piped to homes and farms. Now, the area's once-annual harvest now takes place two to three times a year thanks to the additional water, he said.

"I hope the people here can have prosperous lives and live happily," Sadiman said. Read more at Reuters.