This Video recording of Willie Smits talk on TED talks shows his project dedicated ultimately to saving Orangutans in Borneo. To do this he is required to restore a rainforest previously harvested with an industrial slash & burn regime. The land was essentially bare earth providing local economy with nothing and decimating orangutans through habitat destruction. He built a kind or “recipe” designed to restore this stripped land back to its natural state. The recipe he uses isn’t a regime he can implement anywhere on earth but the concept and his thought process used to develop his recipe has value and is something that can be reproduced on a case by case basis.
He was using over 1600 native tree species and oriented their planting in such a way that will support natural succession processes and also provide the area with protective services by surrouning the property with fire resistant species. He then took this further and implemented agro-forestry practices. He can not only plant early successional species to stimulate growth and shade out fire vulnerable grasses, but he can put agricultural value to the land while this is happening. By planting pineapples, sugar palms and acacia trees, local families can harvest fruit, high energy sugars, ethanol and timber. This practice if reproduced in more temperate regions after clear cut, a productive system designed to benefit natural flora & fauna can be implemented in order to not only stimulate regrowth of the forest but returning it to its natural form in a way that benefits local people and widlife.