This Man Left His High-Paying Job To Become The 'Forest King'

The man who is the proud owner of 33 forests.

This Man Left His High-Paying Job To Become The 'Forest King'
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You can change your backyard into a beautiful forest within a year, that sounds amazing. Isn't it? Shubhendu Sharma, an Industrial Engineer, from Uttrakhand has initiated the same. He left his high-paying job as an engineer to plant trees for the rest of his life. Using the unique Miyawaki methodology to grow saplings, Afforestt converts any land into a self-sustainable forest in a couple of years. He has successfully created 33 forests across India in a couple of years. He wanted to change the industry and Afforestt was much more than just a business idea for him.

According to The Better India, he is known for his TED Talk, "How to Grow a Tiny Forest Anywhere" and Reforestation Expert & Director, Afforestt. It has helped to grow forests at homes, schools, and factories. He's seen improvement in air quality, an increase in biodiversity - and the forests even generate fresh fruits. No doubt, he should get the title of 'Forest King'.

Know about the methodologies he used to create a forest from a barren land.

How did it start?

How did it start?

According to Everipedia, 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. Miyawaki's technique has managed to regenerate forests from Thailand to the Amazon, and Sharma thought to replicate the model in India.

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At first, he worked as an intern.

At first, he worked as an intern.
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Fascinated, Sharma interned with Miyawaki and grew his first successful forest on a small plot behind a house.

Challenges he went through.

Challenges he went through.

According to The Better India, Sharma has to go through a no. of challenges from family issues to forests planning. He was adamant about making his idea work and started the company without his family's knowledge. It was only after a couple of months of operation they got to know about it and finally made peace with it.

His friends were a great support which gave him a boost.

Shifting his career wasn't easy.

Shifting his career wasn’t easy.

Especially, convincing the family was very tough. It was not easy for him to explain why he was quitting a high paying job to plant trees all his life.

His idea of maintenance.

His idea of maintenance.
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Sharma started to experiment with the model and came up with an Indian version after slight modifications using soil amenders. His first tryst with making forests was in his own backyard in Uttarakhand, where he grew a lush green forest within a year's time. This gave him confidence, and he decided to launch it as a full-time initiative. He quit his job and spent almost a year to do research on the methodology, according to The Better India.

The idea was to bring back the native forests. They are not only self-sustainable after a couple of years but also are maintenance-free

Afforestt works in two ways. 

Afforestt works in two ways. 
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One 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.

Another is end-to-end services, where they provide complete Project Execution and Management services which include an arrangement of labour, materials, equipment, tools and facilities required to execute an afforestation project using the Miyawaki Method.

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.

The biggest challenge was to launch something which had no existing market.

The biggest challenge was to launch something which had no existing market.
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Forests require space, and not everyone is open to the idea of having a forest in their backyard.

Present status of the company.

Present status of the company.
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Today, his company Afforestt 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. Afforestt has helped grow forests at homes, schools, and factories.

Dream big to achieve bigger!

Dream big to achieve bigger!
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Afforestt has created 33 forests so far across 11 cities of India and is in the plan of increasing the number. Sharma has a lot of plans to scale up and put this technology out there for more and more people to implement.

He is planning to launch a monitored crowd-sourced software where people will be able to feed their native plantation species in the tool. So, in case someone wants to plant their own forest, they would know what all species to go for. This will make their task a lot easier.

Did this man's story inspire you to do good?