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Living Root Bridge Ecosystems of India

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Living Root Bridges are Ficus-based ecosystems within sub-tropical moist broadleaf forest eco-region of North Eastern Indian Himalayas. Ranging in span from 15 feet to 250 feet these bridges are grown by indigenous tribes over a time period of 15 to 30 years, and last for several centuries. With 1) exceptional robustness under extreme climatic conditions, 2) minimal material and maintenance cost, 3) no environmental damage, 4) progressive increase in load bearing capacity, 5) carbon sequestration, 6) remedial properties on surrounding soil, water and air, 7) collective grass root involvement, 8) support to other plant and animal systems, and 9) keystone role of Ficus plant species in local ecology, living root bridges offer an extraordinary model for long-term socio-ecological resilience.

Architect, researcher and explorer Sanjeev Shankar discusses these living plant-based structures, and explores a socio-scientific framework for fundamental research and future application of this technology.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Structures Research Seminars series.

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