How to Build a Rainforest
Author: Ayana de Vos
One man fighting against the destruction of the rainforest and the extinction of the orangutan.
The rainforest used to cover 20 percent of the Earth. Today, two thirds of this fascinating and - in parts - unexplored region have disappeared. Man needed oil, coal, wood and space and recklessly took what he could.
Man’s exploitation of nature has had consequences - drought, infertile grass wastelands and groundwater polluted by pesticides. A biotope that originally abounded with various species is being turned into a wilderness.
For 15 years now, the Dutch scientist Dr. Willie Smits has not only been fighting against the destruction of the environment in Indonesia’s forests. His goal is to save the orangutans living there from extinction. They are threatened in many ways - by farmers who unknowingly kill the animals to protect their plantations, by poachers who generally kill the orangutan mothers so that their offspring can be sold at the markets.
At the moment, six hundred apes are living in the two rescue and rehabilitation centres which Dr. Smits has set up in the north of and east of Borneo. Here they are learning how to live in the wild.
But Dr. Smits has a much more far-reaching vision - he is working on the development of a new rainforest. Five years ago, he began his “Samboja Lestarie” project. He has 1,000 trees planted every day on 1,700 hectares of land. The first trees planted are now already more than 20 metres tall.
year of production: 2006