Franklin D. Roosevelt, thirty-second President of the United States, was well known for his passion for conservationism. He once said, “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
Most modern backyards are a display of huge amounts of lush, green lawns surrounded by strategically placed flowers or shrubbery. This is very opposite to how most natural ecosystems operate. In fact, these “artificial” yards quite often end up using more natural resources to maintain (water, fuel, time, etc.). A natural outdoor space mimics forests – a combination of soils and layers of plants and trees that exist to help those that surround them.
Mature forests take decades and centuries to mature and reach their full potential, so we can’t expect to see most of the results of afforestation in our lifetime, right? Wrong. Shubhendu Sharma, a former industrial engineer turned afforestation activist, has come up with a process that allows dense, biodiverse, small-scale forests to be grown quickly in urban areas. Once well-rooted and growing well, the forests are then maintenance-free and self-sustaining.
Shubhendu believes we should work with nature, not against it. Increasing local forested areas will improve local air quality, provide food for people and wildlife, and give shade to buildings and homes.
From an internship with a Japanese forestation expert, Shubhendu developed a method that allows a forest to grow ten times faster than normal. It means that a forest that would normally take one hundred years to grow, now only takes ten.
The former engineer uses that experience in combination with the knowledge he has gained in the field of forestry to develop a software that helps in determining the optimal plant and tree species for each local area. It also calculates the proper planting ratio to allow for as much growth as quickly as possible.
Check out this video to see what all is involved in the process. It’s so great to see these forests go up, using only flora that is native to the region. Even fertilizers and soil nutrients are only sourced from within thirty miles of each new site. Within a year, the trees have grown so much already that sunlight isn’t able to reach the forest bottom.
Shubhendu’s project is very inspiring, and the results will benefit the earth and our environment tremendously. How about you? Do you want to start your own forest in your backyard?