De Vos Film

How To Build A Rainforest

60 minute International TV documentary premiered 2006 all over Europe & Japan, aired in reruns
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Written and directed by Ayana de Vos

Production company: SPIEGEL TV


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 largely 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. An ecosystem abound with various species is being turned into a wasteland.


For 15 years now, Dutch scientist Dr. Willie Smits has been fighting against the destruction of the Indonesian rainforests. His goal is to save the Orangutan living there from extinction. They are threatened in many ways – by farmers who kill the animals to protect their plantations, by poachers who kill the Orangutan mothers and sell the offspring at 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 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.


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