“When I think that a man alone, reduced to his own simple physical and moral resources, was enough to cause this land of Canaan to spring out of the desert, I do find that, after all, the human condition is commendable.” This is how the book The Man Who Planted Trees, by French writer Jean Giono, ends after having told the story of Elzéard Bouffier, a shepherd that reforested an entire alpine valley single-handedly during the first half of 19th century. Although it is fictional, on several occasions over the last few years real instances of reforestation have paid indirect tributes to Monsieur Bouffier.  For example, although we don’t know if the Chinese-American researcher and documentary maker John D. Liu read the book, his story could well have been inspired by Gio...