land owners were responsible for their own management plans. AFE/COHDEFOR’s new
role was to approve management plans and monitor their implementation.
These changes obviously affected the agroforestry cooperatives. The
cooperatives had to have a management plan in order to operate. For cooperatives
working in national forests, they would have to work with AFE/COHDEFOR to develop
a plan for their forests. For those working in communal or private forests, they would
have to arrange with the land owner to develop plans. Other clauses in the law applied
specifically to the groups of the Social Forestry System. For example, the law placed a
limit on the volume of timber a cooperative could harvest per year. For cooperatives in
pine forest, they were allowed to harvest 1000 m3 per year, and in broadleaf forest, they
were allowed to harvest 200 m3 per year.
One section of the law contained clauses that were intended to reaffirm and
strengthen the Social Forestry System. One clause specified that groups with three or
more years experience working successfully in forestry activities would earn the right to
a convenio de usufructo (usufruct contract). This document gives a cooperative secure
property rights for a defined period, usually 40 years. It was an attempt to prevent
cooperatives from losing their forest areas to outside interests. The law also specified
that groups operating under the Social Forestry System would have access to credit
through AFE/COHDEFOR to form new groups or finance management activities in the
forests. The law mentions that the cooperatives were to utilize rural banking institutions
which were being established in that time period by a different government project.