Shubhendu Sharma
1,390,600 views • 4:22

I'm an industrial engineer. The goal in my life has always been to make more and more products in the least amount of time and resources. While working at Toyota, all I knew was how to make cars until I met Dr. Akira Miyawaki, who came to our factory to make a forest in it in order to make it carbon-neutral. I was so fascinated that I decided to learn this methodology by joining his team as a volunteer. Soon, I started making a forest in the backyard of my own house, and this is how it looks after three years.

These forests, compared to a conventional plantation, grow 10 times faster, they're 30 times more dense, and 100 times more biodiverse. Within two years of having this forest in our backyard, I could observe that the groundwater didn't dry during summers, the number of bird species I spotted in this area doubled. Quality of air became better, and we started harvesting seasonal fruits growing effortlessly right in the backyard of our house.

I wanted to make more of these forests. I was so moved by these results that I wanted to make these forests with the same acumen with which we make cars or write software or do any mainstream business, so I founded a company which is an end-to-end service provider to create these native natural forests. But to make afforestation as a mainstream business or an industry, we had to standardize the process of forest-making. So we benchmarked the Toyota Production System known for its quality and efficiency for the process of forest-making.

For an example, the core of TPS, Toyota Production System, lies in heijunka, which is making manufacturing of different models of cars on a single assembly line. We replaced these cars with trees, using which now we can make multi-layered forests. These forests utilize 100 percent vertical space. They are so dense that one can't even walk into them. For an example, we can make a 300-tree forest in an area as small as the parking spaces of six cars. In order to reduce cost and our own carbon footprint, we started utilizing local biomass as soil amender and fertilizers. For example, coconut shells crushed in a machine mixed with rice straw, powder of rice husk mixed with organic manure is finally dumped in soil on which our forest is planted. Once planted, we use grass or rice straw to cover the soil so that all the water which goes into irrigation doesn't get evaporated back into the atmosphere. And using these simple improvisations, today we can make a forest for a cost as low as the cost of an iPhone.

Today, we are making forests in houses, in schools, even in factories with the corporates. But that's not enough. There is a huge number of people who want to take matters into their own hands. So we let it happen. Today, we are working on an Internet-based platform where we are going to share our methodology on an open source using which anyone and everyone can make their own forest without our physical presence being there, using our methodology. At the click of a button, they can get to know all the native species of their place. By installing a small hardware probe on site, we can do remote soil testing, using which we can give step-by-step instructions on forest-making remotely. Also we can monitor the growth of this forest without being on site.

This methodology, I believe, has a potential. By sharing, we can actually bring back our native forests. Now, when you go back home, if you see a barren piece of land, do remember that it can be a potential forest.

Thank you very much. Thanks.