By piecing together a complex ecological puzzle, biologist Willie Smits has found a way to re-grow clearcut rainforest in Borneo, saving local orangutans – and creating a thrilling blueprint for restoring fragile ecosystems.
About Willie Smits
Willie Smits has devoted his life to saving the forest habitat of orangutans, the "thinkers of the jungle." As towns, farms and wars encroach on native forests, Smits works to save what is left. Full bio and more links
Comment by: PT (David Alexander) (Mar-6-2009) Web site
Hopefully his experience can be a template elsewhere. I believe that in most of the rainforests there is still that downward spiral going on that he depicted. Maybe with all the information about what worked in his rebuilding of the region, others can replicate his successes.
Thanks. I hope we can get more people to realize that this kind of thinking should apply to all of our interactions with our environment, not just 'somewhere else'. The only thing separating us from the orangutans is our ability to imagine. Otherwise, we are just as dependent upon the natural world, and losing it fast at our rates of consumption.
Comment by: wind (Wind) (Mar-5-2009) Web site
What a great thing that Mr. Smits has done! Using the available natural resources to create more valuable resources for a community that so desperately needed them! While at the same time possibly saving a species that indeed needed protection from the most dangerous creatures on the planet: man! We could use a few more Willie Smits in the world.
Comment by: PT (David Alexander) (Mar-5-2009) Web site
This talk illustrates so many aspects: protection of animals and biodiversity, economic structure to help the environment, the importance of trees, and social / cultural skills needed to integrate local people. And yet, this can be done in so many places, because the alternative is the economic and environmental devastation pictured in that same locale before the project started.