The Forest Maker

It’s a well-loved cliché, but not all superheroes wear capes, and this is certainly the case for Tony Rinaudo.

An unlikely superhero

Known formally as World Vision’s Natural Resources Management Specialist, but known more famously as The Forest Maker, Tony Rinaudo helped transform millions of hectares of dry land in Niger. For many people, Tony is certainly an environmental hero, after making a positive impact on food security, and environmental sustainability and resilience for thousands of vulnerable communities around the world.

So who is Tony Rinaudo?

Tony is a Natural Resources Management Specialist and agronomist who has worked for World Vision for a number of years. Tony’s quite the green thumb, with a list of achievements in developing and promoting agricultural-forestry-pastoral systems. This has resulted in him being nominated for, and winning several international awards.

Over 25 years ago, with the help of the local farmers in Niger, Tony began implementing a conservation farming system which we know as Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR). This approach has been so successful that it has been applied in at least 24 African countries.

Let’s take a look at FMNR

FMNR is the management of existing tree stumps and roots that still grow even in degraded landscapes. Thanks to the protection and care of the shoots through specially crafted methodology, the original tree population can be regenerated without major financial costs.


FMNR: pruning for natural regeneration

Three steps to regenerating barren land through Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration.
Read the transcript


In Niger alone, five million hectares of land with over 200 million trees were restored in this way. This also equated to 50,000 more tonnes of grain being harvested, with two and a half million people benefiting from the improved use of the land.

Tony believes that with FMNR, he has found the appropriate method for such management, which can also be easily and successfully practised by the local farmers to stop or even reverse the destruction of landscapes and the livelihoods they support.

As we’re sure you’ll agree, transforming deserts into forests is no mean feat, and this is why his story caught the attention of German author Johannes Dietrich who has just published a book and e-book about Tony’s story called "The Forest Maker" which can be purchased here.