International Fellowship Spotlight: Romain Matile

Romain suits up for a helicopter ride to fight wildfire.
Romain suits up for a helicopter ride to fight wildfire.

Here at World Forestry Center, we operate at the intersection of People and Forestry. Given the current global stress, we decided to check back in with some of our Fellowship alumni.

Before Romain Matile joined us here at World Forestry Center in 2019, he worked in the South of France as a firefighter. He developed tracks, water reserves, and scrub in the forests, and executed prescribed burns. Five years ago, however, he moved to New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific, to train with firefighters there. While the territory is home to the largest lagoon in the world, it is also ravaged by wildfires.

New Caledonia Landscape
New Caledonia Landscape

To deepen his practice and understanding of fire management, Romain applied to our Fellowship in 2019. While in Oregon, he researched controlled burning best practices and their potential applications for France and New Caledonia. Through the Fellowship, Romain was able to discover innovative techniques from local experts.

Romain and his crew training. He calls this picture "5 minute helicopter and 8 hours walking."
Romain and his crew training. He calls this picture “5 minute helicopter and 8 hours walking.”

Upon his return to France, Romain started a company to apply what he discovered. His company, Warucene, mitigates the risk of wildfire using innovative strategies. It compliments his current endeavors working on biomass energy and forest protection in the South of France. Soon Romain will organize the first ever controlled burn training in New Caledonia.

Group photo of Romain and his trainees posing in front of a body of water.
Romain’s Trainees

Romain credits much of his success to his Fellowship Experience. But we too, feel grateful to work with global leaders and practitioners of forestry.

For other updates from our Fellowship alumni, check out Where are they now? Checking-in with our Fellowship alumni.

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