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____________________ Tuesday September 9, 2014 ___________________

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Ted Talks

Shubhendu Sharma: How to grow a tiny forest anywhere


A forest planted by humans, then left to nature’s own devices, typically takes at least 100 years to mature. But what if we could make the process happen ten times faster? In this short talk, eco-entrepreneur (and TED Fellow) Shubhendu Sharma explains how to create a mini-forest ecosystem anywhere.

Eco-entrepreneur Shubhendu Sharma — and his company, Afforestt — create afforestation methods that make it easy to plant maintenance-free, wild and biodiverse forests.

Industrial engineer Shubhendu Sharma was working at Toyota in India when he met Japanese forest expert Akira Miyawaki, who’d arrived to plant a forest at the factory, using a methodology he’d developed to make a forest grow ten times faster that normal. Fascinated, Sharma interned with Miyawaki, and grew his first successful forest on a small plot behind a house. Today, his company Afforest promotes a standardized method for seeding dense, fast-growing, native forests in barren lands, using his car-manufacturing acumen to create a system allowing a multilayer forest of 300 trees to grow on an area as small as the parking spaces of six cars — for less than the price of an iPhone. Afforest has helped grow forests at homes, schools and factories. He’s seen improvement in air quality, an increase in biodiversity — and the forests even generate fresh fruit. Afforest is at work on a platform that will offer hardware probes to analyze soil quality — allowing the company to offer step-by-step instructions for anyone who wants to grow a native forest anywhere in the world.

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