Forests are an important Resource and an asset of our Eco-system. It’s important that all of us preserve and maintain it. As the Reports suggests, there is a visible decrease in the forest cover in India. Benefits of a Forest are not hidden to anyone, it provides vital oxygen, essential for existence of Human species, and shelter to millions of animals and human communities. But not much attention is been given to the fact that the forest cover of the country has been downgrading and been cut of a much larger scale for essentially meeting the human needs, which is utterly obnoxious. Knowing the cycle of nature, we all know that at the end we are going to be suffering because of this indirectly, yet not many person in the Society is much interested in contributing towards the ecosystem , in anyway. From the Clean India movement to the Government financed Grow more Trees initiative have been platforms to spread awareness among the citizens. Strict Steps have been taken and policies have been devised for reduction of pollution and dealing with other such ecological issues.
Shubhendu Sharma, Founder and Director, of Afforestt, a company which has planted more than 50,000 trees and more than 33 forests in India in less than 2 years, is a source of inspiration to the youth of the country. Placed as an Industrial Engineer, in a multi-national company, Toyota, India, he had a set life. He was earning a good livelihood and enjoying his job. But this obsession , struck him when he volunteered to assist a naturalist, Akira Miyawaki, who had come to plant trees at the Toyota Plant, as a part of his project. Sharma was quite impressed by the Miyawaki technique, which helped to cultivate more trees in small area and that too in less time.
Shubhendu, having struck with this technique, started to experiment with the model and came up with his own Indian version – based on the soil variation of various region. His first attempt in creating forests, was at his backyard of his own house in Uttrakhand. He created a lush green cover in less than a year, which inspired him so much that he quit is high paying job at Toyota and with much enthusiasm he research of this Methodology and have it could be applied here and after much planning and research he started Afforestt, an end-to-end service provider known for creating natural, wild, maintenance free and native forests in India since 2011.
Afforestt, has a small team of 6 people based out of Banglore and Delhi in India. Sunny Verma, Sundar A Padmanabhan, Saleem Ahmed, Himanshu Arteev, Md. Waseem, Shubhendu Sharma, All of them love what they do and working towards recreation of native forest at the lowest possible costs. Shubhendu was very clear since beginning that Aforestt was a profit organization, which would work for the creation of self-sustainable forests and it was much more than just a business idea for him.
“The biggest lesson that I have learnt is that you need to keep earning money. This is the only way you can sustain your initiative and actually bring a change.” , Sharma says.
This is a fact that if you want to remain in the market and keep serving than first you need a firm financial background. Same dilemma was suffered by Shubhendu where initially it became a difficult job for him to make the ends meet, and keep up with the work, as this was a unique model and had no existing market and didn’t even know if it ever would.But as someone had rightly said without taking risks Greatness cant never be achieved, He kept working and eventually he even got support from his friends which served as a real booster. Initially he kept this startup a secret from his family as it was difficult for them to digest that their son had quit a good paying job to plant trees for the rest of his life. But as they came to know, they gradually accepted and made peace with it.
How does it work ?
Afforestt works in two ways. One is end-to-end services, where they provide complete Project Execution and Management services which includes arrangement of labor, materials, equipment, tools and facilities required to execute an afforestation project using the Miyawaki Method. Another way is providing project management, on-site consulting and software support.
The process starts with doing a soil survey and finding out what the soil is missing. The minimum land size should be 1,000 square feet. Then a survey is done to study the native plant species and biomass. After the survey, saplings are prepared in a nursery and soil is mixed with biomass to make it more fertile.
Finally the process of planting 50 to 100 varieties of native species at a density of 3-5/sq meter starts. The last stage involves watering and weeding the area for next two years, after which the forest needs no maintenance and becomes self-sustainable.
Sharma designs and formulates in what pattern, sequence and ratio should the saplings be planted for rapid growth. On an average, a sapling grows approximately 1 meter every year. The biggest plus point of Afforestt is its low-cost model. They charge around Rs. 150 per square foot, which is far less than what a regular Miyawaki method costs.
This, 30-year old guy is an motivating personality to the youth of the nation , who dared to do go against the flow and do something so unique and beneficial to the society and the ecosystem. His vision is to create a society where plucking a fruit from the backyard will be more convenient than buying it from the market, which is admirable.
Here’s the link to his initiative’s official site,
Check out his work and other related articles on him in the Press & Media Section. Moreover, you can listen to his TEDx Talk where he describes his experiences and gives advises on how to grow a tiny forest anywhere.
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