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  • I was walking in the market one day with my wife,

  • and somebody stuck a cage in my face.

  • And in between those slits

  • were the saddest eyes I've ever seen.

  • There was a very sick orangutan baby, my first encounter.

  • That evening I came back to the market in the dark

  • and I heard "uhh, uhh,"

  • and sure enough I found a dying orangutan baby on a garbage heap.

  • Of course, the cage was salvaged.

  • I took up the little baby,

  • massaged her, forced her to drink

  • until she finally started breathing normally.

  • This is Uce.

  • She's now living in the jungle of Sungai Wain,

  • and this is Matahari, her second son,

  • which, by the way, is also the son of the second orangutan I rescued, Dodoy.

  • That changed my life quite dramatically,

  • and as of today, I have almost 1,000 babies in my two centers.

  • (Applause)

  • No. No. No. Wrong.

  • It's horrible. It's a proof of our failing to save them in the wild.

  • It's not good.

  • This is merely proof of everyone failing to do the right thing.

  • Having more than all the orangutans in all the zoos in the world together,

  • just now like victims for every baby,

  • six have disappeared from the forest.

  • The deforestation, especially for oil palm,

  • to provide biofuel for Western countries

  • is what's causing these problems.

  • And those are the peat swamp forests on 20 meters of peat,

  • the largest accumulation of organic material in the world.

  • When you open this for growing oil palms

  • you're creating CO2 volcanoes

  • that are emitting so much CO2

  • that my country is now the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses in the world,

  • after China and the United States.

  • And we don't have any industry at all --

  • it's only because of this deforestation.

  • And these are horrible images.

  • I'm not going to talk too long about it,

  • but there are so many of the family of Uce,

  • which are not so fortunate to live out there in the forest,

  • that still have to go through that process.

  • And I don't know anymore where to put them.

  • So I decided that I had to come up with a solution for her

  • but also a solution

  • that will benefit the people that are trying to exploit those forests,

  • to get their hands on the last timber

  • and that are causing, in that way,

  • the loss of habitat and all those victims.

  • So I created the place Samboja Lestari,

  • and the idea was,

  • if I can do this on the worst possible place that I can think of

  • where there is really nothing left,

  • no one will have an excuse to say, "Yeah, but ..."

  • No. Everyone should be able to follow this.

  • So we're in East Borneo. This is the place where I started.

  • As you can see there's only yellow terrain.

  • There's nothing left -- just a bit of grass there.

  • In 2002 we had about 50 percent of the people jobless there.

  • There was a huge amount of crime.

  • People spent so much of their money on health issues and drinking water.

  • There was no agricultural productivity left.

  • This was the poorest district in the whole province

  • and it was a total extinction of wildlife.

  • This was like a biological desert.

  • When I stood there in the grass, it's hot -- not even the sound of insects --

  • just this waving grass.

  • Still, four years later we have created jobs for about 3,000 people.

  • The climate has changed. I will show you:

  • no more flooding, no more fires.

  • It's no longer the poorest district,

  • and there is a huge development of biodiversity.

  • We've got over 1,000 species. We have 137 bird species as of today.

  • We have 30 species of reptiles.

  • So what happened here? We created a huge economic failure in this forest.

  • So basically the whole process of destruction

  • had gone a bit slower than what is happening now with the oil palm.

  • But we saw the same thing.

  • We had slash and burn agriculture;

  • people cannot afford the fertilizer,

  • so they burn the trees and have the minerals available there;

  • the fires become more frequent,

  • and after a while you're stuck with an area of land

  • where there is no fertility left.

  • There are no trees left.

  • Still, in this place, in this grassland

  • where you can see our very first office there on that hill,

  • four years later, there is this one green blop on the Earth's surface ...

  • (Applause)

  • And there are all these animals, and all these people happy,

  • and there's this economic value.

  • So how's this possible?

  • It was quite simple. If you'll look at the steps:

  • we bought the land, we dealt with the fire,

  • and then only, we started doing the reforestation

  • by combining agriculture with forestry.

  • Only then we set up the infrastructure and management and the monetary.

  • But we made sure that in every step of the way

  • the local people were going to be fully involved

  • so that no outside forces would be able to interfere with that.

  • The people would become the defenders of that forest.

  • So we do the "people, profit, planet" principles,

  • but we do it in addition

  • to a sure legal status --

  • because if the forest belongs to the state,

  • people say, "It belongs to me, it belongs to everyone."

  • And then we apply all these other principles

  • like transparency, professional management, measurable results,

  • scalability, [unclear], etc.

  • What we did was we formulated recipes --

  • how to go from a starting situation where you have nothing

  • to a target situation.

  • You formulate a recipe based upon the factors you can control,

  • whether it be the skills or the fertilizer or the plant choice.

  • And then you look at the outputs and you start measuring what comes out.

  • Now in this recipe you also have the cost.

  • You also know how much labor is needed.

  • If you can drop this recipe on the map

  • on a sandy soil, on a clay soil,

  • on a steep slope, on flat soil,

  • you put those different recipes; if you combine them,

  • out of that comes a business plan,

  • comes a work plan, and you can optimize it

  • for the amount of labor you have available or for the amount of fertilizer you have,

  • and you can do it.

  • This is how it looks like in practice. We have this grass we want to get rid of.

  • It exudes [unclear]-like compounds from the roots.

  • The acacia trees are of a very low value

  • but we need them to restore the micro-climate, to protect the soil

  • and to shake out the grasses.

  • And after eight years they might actually yield some timber --

  • that is, if you can preserve it in the right way,

  • which we can do with bamboo peels.

  • It's an old temple-building technique from Japan

  • but bamboo is very fire-susceptible.

  • So if we would plant that in the beginning

  • we would have a very high risk of losing everything again.

  • So we plant it later, along the waterways

  • to filter the water, provide the raw products

  • just in time for when the timber becomes available.

  • So the idea is: how to integrate these flows

  • in space, over time and with the limited means you have.

  • So we plant the trees, we plant these pineapples

  • and beans and ginger in between, to reduce the competition for the trees,

  • the crop fertilizer. Organic material is useful for the agricultural crops,

  • for the people, but also helps the trees. The farmers have free land,

  • the system yields early income, the orangutans get healthy food

  • and we can speed up ecosystem regeneration

  • while even saving some money.

  • So beautiful. What a theory.

  • But is it really that easy?

  • Not really, because if you looked at what happened in 1998,

  • the fire started.

  • This is an area of about 50 million hectares.

  • January.

  • February.

  • March.

  • April.

  • May.

  • We lost 5.5 million hectares in just a matter of a few months.

  • This is because we have 10,000 of those underground fires

  • that you also have in Pennsylvania here in the United States.

  • And once the soil gets dried, you're in a dry season -- you get cracks,

  • oxygen goes in, flames come out and the problem starts all over again.

  • So how to break that cycle?

  • Fire is the biggest problem.

  • This is what it looked like for three months.

  • For three months, the automatic lights outside did not go off

  • because it was that dark.

  • We lost all the crops. No children gained weight for over a year;

  • they lost 12 IQ points. It was a disaster

  • for orangutans and people.

  • So these fires are really the first things to work on.

  • That was why I put it as a single point up there.

  • And you need the local people for that because these grasslands,

  • once they start burning ... It goes through it like a windstorm

  • and you lose again the last bit of ash and nutrients

  • to the first rainfall -- going to the sea

  • killing off the coral reefs there.

  • So you have to do it with the local people.

  • That is the short-term solution but you also need a long-term solution.

  • So what we did is, we created

  • a ring of sugar palms around the area.

  • These sugar palms turn out to be fire-resistant --

  • also flood-resistant, by the way --

  • and they provide a lot of income for local people.

  • This is what it looks like:

  • the people have to tap them twice a day -- just a millimeter slice --

  • and the only thing you harvest is sugar water,

  • carbon dioxide, rain fall and a little bit of sunshine.

  • In principle, you make those trees into

  • biological photovoltaic cells.

  • And you can create so much energy from this --

  • they produce three times more energy per hectare per year,

  • because you can tap them on a daily basis.

  • You don't need to harvest [unclear]

  • or any other of the crops.

  • So this is the combination where we have all this genetic potential in the tropics,

  • which is still unexploited, and doing it in combination with technology.

  • But also your legal side needs to be in very good order.

  • So we bought that land,

  • and here is where we started our project --

  • in the middle of nowhere.

  • And if you zoom in a bit you can see that all of this area

  • is divided into strips that go over different types of soil,

  • and we were actually monitoring,

  • measuring every single tree in these 2,000 hectares, 5,000 acres.

  • And this forest is quite different.

  • What I really did was I just followed nature,

  • and nature doesn't know monocultures,

  • but a natural forest is multilayered.

  • That means that both in the ground and above the ground

  • it can make better use of the available light,

  • it can store more carbon in the system, it can provide more functions.

  • But, it's more complicated. It's not that simple, and you have to work with the people.

  • So, just like nature,

  • we also grow fast planting trees and underneath that,

  • we grow the slower growing, primary-grain forest trees of a very high diversity

  • that can optimally use that light. Then,

  • what is just as important: get the right fungi in there

  • that will grow into those leaves, bring back the nutrients

  • to the roots of the trees that have just dropped that leaf within 24 hours.

  • And they become like nutrient pumps.

  • You need the bacteria to fix nitrogen,

  • and without those microorganisms, you won't have any performance at all.

  • And then we started planting -- only 1,000 trees a day.

  • We could have planted many, many more, but we didn't want to

  • because we wanted to keep the number of jobs stable.

  • We didn't want to lose the people

  • that are going to work in that plantation.

  • And we do a lot of work here.

  • We use indicator plants to look at what soil types,

  • or what vegetables will grow, or what trees will grow here.

  • And we have monitored every single one of those trees from space.

  • This is what it looks like in reality;

  • you have this irregular ring around it,

  • with strips of 100 meters wide, with sugar palms

  • that can provide income for 648 families.

  • It's only a small part of the area.

  • The nursery, in here, is quite different.

  • If you look at the number of tree species we have in Europe, for instance,

  • from the Urals up to England, you know how many?

  • 165.

  • In this nursery, we're going to grow 10 times more than the number of species.

  • Can you imagine