What is intangible heritage? Experience the richness of Richard St. Barbe Baker as the film commemorates the centenary of the International Tree Foundation founded by this global conservationist on July 22, 1922.
It is the heritage of our city, and the heritage of the world. Bringing together memories and celebrating our story. It’s capturing the lost and forgotten and celebrating the significance of nature based solutions to climate change as foreseen by Richard St. Barbe Baker, a visionary ahead of his time.
Hear from International Speakers and the story they tell of our local champion.
“Never before in the history of man has forestry, both in the developed and developing worlds, attracted so much public attention. Environmental degradation and the decline of forests in industrial countries, the continued destruction of forests in developing countries, and evidence of global climate change have all combined to raise the awareness of politicians, planners, and the media to the vital importance of forests in the well-being of nations, and to the knowledge that in our time, the remnants of natural forest ecosystems, with their great diversity of habitats, are in danger of destruction. “~Laurence Roche
Professor Roche born in Wexford, Ireland, had eight siblings. His cousin was the novelist John Banville, and besides devouring works by Baker and novels by Thomas Merton theologian and mystic, Roche was widely read. Considering the same trajectory as Richard St. Barbe Baker, Roche contemplated entering a school of Divinity to become a priest, however Baker’s works inspired Roche to leap feet first, and pursue forestry at Trinity College, Dublin receiving his B.A., B. Agr. [Forestry] in 1960. Roche followed up with a traveling scholarship completing his Masters in Science  and Doctorate from the University of British Columbia .
Business, Technology, 21st Century Culture, Planet Earth
Planet Earth, the World, is in our Hands
Roche received postings in both Canada for the Canadian Forest Service and Professor of Forestry and Head, Department of Forestry, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria Roche embraced a global view following in the footsteps of Richard St. Barbe Baker. Roche advocated that forests were not isolated economic resources for immediate gain. Tropical forests needed to be viewed and assessed in an ecological and social context, and educated African forestry corps to take a lead in safeguarding their forests.
Working alongside John Bene in 1975, they recommended and established programmes on agrisilviculture in developing countries leading to more efficient land use, programmes to improve the lot of rural forest dwellers, by addressing hunger, shelter and degradation of the environment. John Bene, an indefatiguable Canadian forester and inspiring visionary, initiated priorities on tropical forestry research and lead the way to establish the International Centre for Research on Agroforestry (ICRAF) [now known as the Nairobi-based World Agroforestry Centre] in 1977.
“The relationship of populations to their ecosystems is the forest geneticist’s central area of inquiry, and, if he is to gain a fairly complete understanding of these relationships, he must regard the intricate patterns of evolution and coevolution. Therefore, forest genetics engages in ecosystems biology, or, more narrowly, in population biology. ..The environmental conditions that permit a population to survive permanently, and with which this population interacts, today are usually designated as its “ecological niche.” ~Laurence Roche 
Roche recognized that “almost all tree species studied to date exhibit habitat-correlated, genetically based variation. When the species is distributed over a wide range of environments, variation within a species is often very great. It is this variation, referred to as the genetic resources of the species, which is the basis of evolutionary development, and the starting point for selection and breeding programmes. Such programmes are virtually non-existant for tropical trees. ~ Laurence Roche.”
Following his work with IDRC advisor Bene, to integrate forestry, and agriculture with animal husbandry to optimize tropical forest land use, Roche accepted a position as Professor Department of Forestry and Wood Science, School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, University College of North Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd.
Roche was the founding father of the “Journal of Forest Ecology and Management,” a peer reviewed periodical focusing on the forest ecology interaction with forest management, alongside innovation and research in the fields of biological, ecological and social issues in regards to the management and conservation of natural forests and their biosphere. Forest Ecology and Management is committed to open access bringing forward new ideas and approaches to forest management, and forest ecology.
The spirit and zeal of Professor Roche continued following his retirement. Though settling down in Madaboy, Murroe, Co. Limerick, Ireland, Roche continued to advocate for the tropical forest, making frequent journeys. Roche also provided counsel to the Food and Agricultural Organisation headquartered in Rome. According to Trevor West, Roche was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole [The Order of Agricultural Merit] in 1991, and was elected an honorary fellow of Trinity College Dublin [TCD] in 1993.
“I had news that an ecological survey was being undertaken in the Sahara, to the North of the Gold Coast, and I learnt that the local tribesmen had been forced by increased desertification to retreat to a small patch of land, the last remaining patch of forest in the area. There was desert behind them for a thousand miles, and desert to either side of them for a thousand miles, the chiefs had forbidden marriage and the women refused to bear children because the end of the forest was in sight….I was determined that the Kenyans should never have to suffer such an appalling social and ecological disaster.” Richard St. Barbe Baker.
9. Roche, Laurence The Silvicultural Significance of Geographic Variation in the White Engelmann Spruce Complex in British Columbia
The Forestry Chronicle, 1970, 46(2): 116-125, https://doi.org/10.5558/tfc46116-2
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“St. Barbe’s unique capacity to pass on his enthusiasm to others. . . Many foresters all over the world found their vocations as a result of hearing ‘The Man of the Trees’ speak. I certainly did, but his impact has been much wider than that. Through his global lecture tours, St. Barbe has made millions of people aware of the importance of trees and forests to our planet.” Allan Grainger
“We forget that we owe our existence to the presence of Trees. As far as forest cover goes, we have never been in such a vulnerable position as we are today. The only answer is to plant more Trees – to Plant Trees for Our Lives.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker
“In the words of Henry van Dyke, America’s greatest tree poet,
‘He that planteth a tree is a servant of God;
He provideth a kindness for many generations
And faces that he hath not seen shall bless him.’ ”