I am an industrial engineer and my mission is to bring back our native forests. To achieve this goal, I founded and serve as director of a company called Afforestt, which works to create natural forests of native tree species in urban settings, on corporate campuses, and around buildings such as apartments, hospitals, and schools. The reforesting method I use is the Miyawaki Method.
I completed my bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Production Engineering in 2007 and then worked at Toyota as an engineer in the automobile manufacturing, supplier development, and global production center in India and Japan from 2008 to 2010. While working at Toyota, I met Dr. Akira Miyawaki. As a botanist and expert in plant ecology, Dr. Miyawaki had long been engaged in the study of natural forests and was working worldwide to restore natural vegetation on degraded land. Toyota had brought him to our factory to help cultivate a forest on the factory premises. I volunteered for this work and learned how to grow forests in smaller spaces, while also making them grow faster—ten times faster.
I was fascinated with Dr. Miyawaki’s method of afforestation and practiced it for two years during my time at Toyota. I also began experimenting in my own backyard, using organic soil amenders and looking for ways to reduce costs. Then, in 2011, I launched Afforestt.
Afforestt uses only native species and works with 100% organic materials to mimic nature. We can create dense forests in areas as small as 93 square meters (or approximately 1,000 square feet), and these maintenance-free, natural forests cost only a tenth the price of creating lawns. What’s more, these urban forests can soak grey water coming out of sewage treatment plants, so they can help purify air and water.
I have also developed algorithms to standardize the process of afforestation using Toyota production system concepts. This has enabled us to develop dense, self-sustaining native forests in a period of just two to three years.
Afforestt is based in Bangalore, India, and in the last five years, we have made forests in 26 cities, in five countries, and in three continents.
You can learn more about my work at TED.com: How to Grow a Tiny Forest in Your Backyard and An Engineer’s Vision for Tiny Forests, Everywhere; BBC’s Grow Your Own Tiny Forest on the Web; Wired Magazine’s The Next Big Thing You Missed: How We Can Manufacture Forests Like Toyota Makes Cars; and The Economic Times’ Afforestation as an Industry, Not Just Afforestt as a Company.