When he was a child, he used to collect dead wood in the forest to help provide his parents with fuel for cooking and heating.
Sometimes, he could find some honey and treat himself with this sweet. But one day, he got so badly stung in the face that he was hardly recognizable for a while.
At school, natural history was his favorite topic. As he was wondering where Madagascar’s forests were coming from, his teacher told him: “Our ancestors planted them.”
This somehow impressed him. He wanted to become a teacher himself “because it was the best known profession,” he recalls.
Explaining is not always easy
But when he joined WWF in 2000, he was a forester. He likes his job with WWF, especially because he can be in the forest and discuss and negotiate with local communities. He admits that sometimes it is not easy to explain to local people what WWF wants in terms of conservation.
But he is convinced that small steps and efforts at everyone’s level can contribute to find a solution to most of the problems.
“This is also the philosophy of the holistic programme of forest conservation,” he says. “Activities are based on the search for acceptable compromises, alternative practices, sustainable solutions and a common vision, all which is essential at the local level.”