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Orangutans and palm oil: What's the connection?


In Willie Smits’ powerful TEDTalk, he describes his work to re-grow the rainforest in Indonesia — a triple-bottom-line effort that can benefit the local economy, the local orangutans and the green heart of the forest. The TED Blog asked Smits’ associate Richard Zimmerman, the director of Orangutan Outreach, to expand on the orangutan story: In []

Read all about Willie Smits' 20-year tale of hope


Willie Smits works at the complicated intersection of humankind, the animal world and our green planet. In his early work as a forester in Indonesia, he came to a deep understanding of that triple relationship, as he watched the growing population of Sulawesi move into (or burn for fuel) forests that are home to the []

A 20-year tale of hope: How we re-grew a rainforest: Willie Smits on TED.com


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. This bold plan drew a standing ovation at TED2009. (Recorded in February 2009 in Long Beach, California. Duration: 20:42.) Get involved with []

TED2009 minutes from Ethan Zuckerman: Willie Smits is an orangutan hero


Willie Smits at TED 2009 Photo: James Duncan Davidson Ethan Zuckerman has been liveblogging TED2009, sharing the experience in detail. Today he wrote about the talk delivered by Willie Smits, a conservationist passionately defending the habitat of orangutans in Borneo. The following is a snippet from Ethan’s blog: “Smits tells us about seeing ‘the saddest []