Depleting forest cover is a worldwide problem. Even in India, only 21.53% of its area is under forest cover while it should be around 33%. To fill the gap and make India green, a unique Indian startup growing thriving and self-sustaining forests. The man behind it? Shubhendu Sharma, who is on a green mission. An industrial Engineer, Shubhendu was working at Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s manufacturing plant when he volunteered to be a part of Japanese botanist and plant ecology expert Akira Miyawaki’s afforestation drive, to create indigenous forests at the Toyota manufacturing plants. Inspired by this method and experience (in June 2009 the entire team planted 30,000 seeds), Shubhendu decided to quit his job and bring this initiative to India, developing it into a full-fledged progam called Afforestt.
What is Afforestt?
The initiative developed into a full-fledged program called Afforestt – that creates natural, wild and self-sustaining native forests in different parts of the world, from the United States to Malaysia, South Korea and Pakistan. Afforest has served over 43 clients and planted over 54,000 trees. Based on the theory that if a piece of land is derived from any form of human interaction and intervention for about 600 to 1,000 years, a forest will grow on it naturally, Sharma employees the Miyawaki method to design maintenance-free forests by planting 50 to 100 varieties of native species at a density of 3-5/sq meter for rapid growth. What makes the Afforestt initiative different from the traditional Miyawaki method is its low-cost model (around Rs 150 per square foot). These urban forests are far less expensive than opting for landscaping options. Using an algorithm similar to that used by various car companies, this method ensures that no two large trees are competing for the same space and resources for a much faster success rate.
Apart from pollution control and carbon capture, these urban forest reintroduced habitat spaces for various endangered species and reduce the neighborhood temperatures up to five degrees and are a great way to conserve rainwater. Afforestt also aims to create a world where plucking a fruit from a tree in your backyard is much easier than buying it from the market.
The Upcoming Forest Creation Workshop:
Afforestt is now bringing their incredible project to the Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh, in a four-day workshop that is open to the public. The group will create a tiny forest in the buffer zone of Kanha, using Miyawaki’s method. Participants will learn and practice natural methods of restoring soil health as well as engage in sessions with renowned wildlife conservationist Belinda Wright and her WPSI team. For those interested in forest creation and environmental conservation, this is a fantastic opportunity to study the Potential Native Vegetation (PNV) of Kanha, learn how to adapt the Miyawaki method to any new geography, climate or soil-time, and get the added bonus of staying at Kipling Camp on the edge of the national park.
The fee for this project is INR 80,000, which includes forest-making costs, training material, a jungle safari, other activities and food and accommodation. Please send a brief profile and statement of intent (150-200 words) to TRAINING@AFFORESTT.COM. See the brochure above. Limited seats available.