Ricardo Romero was born in Mexico. His love for nature was passed on to him by his grandmother, who was a gifted tree grafter. He still recalls fondly the excitement of helping her in the orchard and planting his first tree with her. He has been working in environmental conservation and international development for several years, advocating for local communities to be at the centre of development and conservation efforts. Before joining the International Tree Foundation, Ricardo worked for five years as Programme Manager for Sustainable Harvest International, a non-profit organisation based in the USA with environmental and development projects in Central America.
Ricardo has published numerous scientific materials, peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, technical manuals, blog posts and even a soil conservation comic. He has been an active member of many international networks and has been a guest researcher and partner of EARTH University in the Renewable Energies and Circular Economy Laboratories.
” The prospect of joining the International Tree Foundation gives me great joy. Working with agroforestry systems and reforestation efforts, building partnerships that support the development of livelihoods and working together with the communities has been at the core of both of my personal convictions and my professional career. Working for an organisation founded by Richard St. Barbe Baker and with almost 100 years of history is a great privilege. Being part of an institution that developed the idea of the green front to stop the Sahara desert expansion – and relates directly to the original spirit of Watu wa Miti in Kenya, the defence of the majestuous redwoods in the USA, and the support of the Chipko movement in the Himalayas – is a great honour.
However, not everything in ITF resides in its marvellous past and achievements of its extraordinary and visionary founder. Today, ITF has a talented and committed team and dozens of local community partnerships, as well as many vibrant and innovative projects in both the UK and Africa. Amongst other examples, the 20 Million Trees for Kenya’s Forests campaign and the Mount Bamboutos Initiative in Cameroon are of global importance in the fight for biodiversity conservation and to address the current climate crisis.
Present times are particularly challenging, and demand the best work and unrelenting commitment from all of us. With the climate crisis manifesting worldwide and affecting rural communities the most, in parallel with a new economic crisis looming over the world, preserving nature and planting trees in partnership with local communities will be an even tougher task than ever before. Nonetheless, we should all take solace in the knowledge that by taking positive action, we can make a real and lasting difference. In this context, we should continue to advocate for St. Barbe’s idea of all members of humanity to plant ten trees a year, do one good deed every day and take care of trees everywhere.
I believe ITF´s historical first message is even more relevant today than it was in 1922. ITF was founded with a dance – the dance of the trees – that united different worlds, visions and values in order to preserve nature. The spirit of this dance can lead us forward today to face the climate crisis together, as a united front. Moreover, let us not forget that whilst the challenges ahead are immense, despair is not an option and to lose our willingness to care for the planet would be a fatal mistake. The essence of the dance of the trees is a call for both hope and action – two of the key guiding principles I plan to carry with me as I embark on this exciting new chapter with ITF. “
Welcome to ITF Ricardo!