Cardboard is a popular packaging material because it’s strong, cheap, and easy to recycle. Other than that, the cardboard box is a pretty boring delivery system. Unless you’ve got DIY ideas to last a lifetime, a cardboard box’ usefulness ends the moment you tear it open to extract the item within.

Mycologist and mycomimicry advocate Paul Stamets was tired of watching cardboard suffer this dull fate. Having used cardboard as a mulching agent for his beloved mushrooms, Stamets realized that cardboard was the perfect medium for encouraging guilds – communities – of fungi and plants symbiotically working together. He set out to transform the boring cardboard box into an incubator of new, forest-sustaining growth, and 10 years later, that’s how the Life Box was born.

Life Box selection
Image via Life Box

From the outside, the Life Box looks like any other cardboard shipping box. Inside, however, lives the potential to grow an entire forest ecosystem. Each Life Box contains a selection of tree seeds and their mycorrhizal fungal partners, just waiting for you to add water, soil and light so they can burst into the world.

Each Life Box comes complete with instructions for how to grow the most trees from the embedded seeds. On the Life Box website, you’ll find additional support tools, including a seasonal guide to planting, sprouting, transplanting, and mapping your seedlings.

Deforestation is rampant around the globe, and many fail to realize that sacrificing this many trees without proper replanting is hazardous to the future of the human race. “the Life Box is a form of social as well as ecological currency and a shovel ready do-it-yourself climate change solution,” stated Stamets. ” It empowers individuals with the ability to sequester carbon by planting trees and making a positive difference.”

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