Willie Smits is a biologist who has found a way to re-grow clear-cut rainforest in Borneo.
In East-Kalimantan, Borneo significant forest fires and logging had leveled the forest and wildlife in the area was nearly extinct. After suffering 5-6 floods a year and annual forest fires, East-Kalimantan had become the poorest district in the province. Almost 50% of the population was jobless and for those with work, 22% of their income was spent on water alone.
After investing time in educating the local population and enlisting their help, four years later Willie Smits and his team have rebuilt the forest. Three thousand of the local people are employed on a continuing basis in the upkeep of the forest. There are no more fires or flooding and over 1000 tree species, 137 bird species (up from 5), 30 reptile species and 9 species of primates call the area home. The climate has also been restored with air temperature lowered 3-5 degrees Celsius, air humidity up 10%, cloud cover up 11.5% and rainfall up 25%.