Shubhendu Sharma

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. Fascinated, Sharma interned with Miyawaki, and grew his first successful forest on a small plot behind a house. Today, his company Afforest 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. Afforest has helped grow forests at homes, schools and factories. He’s seen improvement in air quality, an increase in biodiversity — and the forests even generate fresh fruit. Afforest is at work on a platform that will offer hardware probes to analyze soil quality — allowing the company to offer step-by-step instructions for anyone who wants to grow a native forest anywhere in the world. [+]