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Ralph Schmidt is currently the CEO of the Candlewood Forest Group in New York. Candlewood is developing a certified sustainable forest products company, and owns 100,000 ha of hardwood forest in Northwest Argentina. For ten years prior to Candlewood, Schmidt served as Senior Adviser and (from 1996) Director of Forest Programs at the United Nations Development Program in New York. He represented UNDP in the Forestry Advisers Group, in the International Forum on Forests and in the Interagency Task Force on Forests with a strong focus on economics and finance of sustainable forest management. In the 1980s he served as the Assistant Secretary (Vice Minister) and Chief of the Puerto Rico Forest Service and as a State Forester of Puerto Rico. Later he became the Forest Management Officer for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome. While there he authored and edited Technical Publications and supervised forest management field projects on all aspects of forest management in the tropics. Schmidt received a B.A. ('69) and a Masters of Forest Science ('78) from Yale University.

Schmidt has worked on forest policy and management in the following countries: Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela; Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda; Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam.

He is fluent in Spanish; conversant in French and Italian; and reads and understands Portuguese.


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