Bangalore startup engineers urban forests

Shubhendu Sharma founded Afforrest after being inspired by a speech by botanist Akira Miyawaki in Bangalore. (Photo by Anuradha Sharma)

 

BANGALORE — Close by a diesel locomotive shed at Krishnarajapura in eastern Bangalore, a dense forest of 2,000 trees is growing

Huddled together in just 600 sq. meters, the 10-month-old trees have an average height of 1.8 meters. But this is no ordinary forest. The man-made urban jungle is the creation of Afforestt, a Bangalore-based startup social enterprise that uses techniques pioneered by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki to restore lost forest cover.

“Another year or so and the forest can be left to fend for itself,” said Shubhendu Sharma, founder and director of Afforestt. “Once it is dense enough to prevent sunlight from reaching the ground, it will not even need watering. It is a self-sustaining, zero-maintenance, fully native forest.”

 

Afforestt has created 98 Miyawaki-style forests in 34 cities in India, Pakistan, Kenya, the Netherlands, Iran, Singapore and the U.S., planting 357,690 trees. It is close to inking a deal for its 100th project. Like the Bangalore one, many were commissioned as part of corporate social responsibility programs. Clients have included Cisco, Polaris Industries, Samsonite International, Tata Chemicals and Larsen & Toubro.

Read the complete piece on the exraordinary startup published in the Nikkei Asian Review on Sept 18, 2017 here.

 

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