The Story of Kareem and the Forest He Created

Forest by Moyan Brenn. CC BY 2.0
Forest by Moyan Brenn. CC BY 2.0

I realize this post is a little off topic for this blog. It is not about big cats, nor does it concern human-wildlife conflict.

Instead, it is about what can happen when we take care of our environment. Kareem has shown the world that if we give it a chance, nature can rebound with a vigor that is nothing short of miraculous. When it does, the people who rely on that ecosystem will benefit as well.

In this age of climate change and extinction, it is easy to lose hope. Kareem’s story serves as a reminder that despair is never warranted. If one man’s efforts and determination achieved such incredible results, imagine what whole communities can accomplish.

Paths. Places. People.

This is an enviable saga of a single man’s continuous hard work and dedication to bring about great changes in the lives of a village in North Kerala. He created a 32-acre forest in a barren rocky wasteland, a sheer environmental miracle now acknowledged worldwide. It has bettered the climate of the place, improved the standard of living, and served and saved the lives of many animals, birds and reptiles. MUHAMMED NOUSHAD meets him in the forest he created and writes. Photographs by VM SADIQUE ALI. 


Abdul Kareem has been allured by miracles since his childhood. His birthplace, a small village called Kottappuram near Nileswaram in Kerala’s northernmost district Kasargaode, gave him ample opportunities to stand in awe at the endless splendors of nature. His young foot followed the movements of butterflies and dragonflies and birds as far as possible. He never grew tired looking at the river or standing…

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