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METHODS

The histories of five agroforestry cooperatives, which were among the first groups

founded under the Social Forestry System, are the focus of this study. The methodology

used in gathering data on each cooperative is instrumental comparative case studies

(Stake, 1995). By comparing these cases, it is hoped that larger conclusions can be

drawn about agroforestry cooperatives and the Social Forestry System in general. The

data gathering for the case studies was conducted using direct observation, participant

observation, focus groups, informal interviewing, unstructured interviewing, and semi-

structured interviewing (Bernard, 2002). For each cooperative the researcher worked to

obtain basic data as outlined in Appendix 1. Included in the outline are basic data about

the community, and also data specifically about the cooperative and its history.

Appendix 1 also served as an interview guide for unstructured and semi-structured

interviews.

The initial stage of the investigation began while the author was a Peace Corps

Volunteer assigned to the Cooperativa Agroforestal La Guadalupe Limitada in the

Municipality of Yuscarán, Department of El Paraiso. In this period, the author was a

participant observer and became familiar with the Guadalupe Cooperative, the members

of the cooperative, the village of Laínez, and what life is like for poor rural Hondurans.

At the same time, the author learned about forestry, forest industry, COHDEFOR, and the

Social Forestry System in Honduras. In order to assess these areas, several auxiliary field

trips were conducted outside Laínez to visit other forestry cooperatives, sawmills,

COHDEFOR offices, and internationally-funded projects working with forestry

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