If you don’t have an entire century at your disposal to create a whole forest for yourself you can utilize some of the effective tricks that have worked for many other people over the course of history – essentially, you can grow a century worth of forest, in your backyard, in less than a decade, that’s just 10 short years.
We tend to see the wilds as the ‘other’ place to be and we like to visit some secluded woods when we want the odd adventure. We have a lack of connection with nature, and we seldom think of living in the wilderness.
So, this is what the expert Shubhendu Sharma suggests: mimic nature instead of mimicking people and designers when deciding how you shape your backyard. Nature grows forests in a very peculiar and amazing way based on the available resources, diversity and a big time reliance on the abundance of fertility.
The various plants and trees that grow in forests essentially work in unison and form a network of support and nurture for each other. Sharma works on the same mechanism and stresses that we should be creating mini-forests in our modern habitats and he has tested his theory by creating ultra-dense mini forests with biodiversity utilizing the local species in urban areas, the system that eventually turns into a self-sustaining habitat.
Sharma had a promising career in the industrial engineering sector which he abandoned in order to pursue his ambition to realize his vision of making afforestation an accepted industry in its own right. Sharma stresses that one must not confuse Afforestation with something that is opposite deforestation, since that implies replacing the lost territory of woodlands.
Afforestation actually means trying to grow trees and making them part of the region where no tree grew before, this is radically different from anything done before and has long reaching impact on the environment, and the modern urban makeup as a whole.
In his famous Ted talk, Sharma lays out his six steps for creating bio-diverse urban mini-forests. He started by saying that the first step has to be the inspection of Soil. After identifying the lack of nutrition in the soil, the next step is to research for the potential local species that can be grown in that soil after adequate planning.
The nourishment that soil may need must come from local biomass, and any synthetic material must be avoided at all costs. After the soil is amended and is forest-ready, saplings are planted and these need to be at least 80cm high, they need to be packed fairly close to each other, at least three to five per square yard/meter.
The size of a mini-forest, Sharma suggests, should not be less than a 100-square-metres in order to meet the requirement of a forest.
This grows into a pack of woods so dense that the within a few months’ sunlight would not reach the soil hence keeping every drop of rainwater that would fall on it. The growth of the forest then speeds up the process of producing nutrition in the soil which in turns helps grow the forest even more.
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