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OBSTACLES, ADVANTAGES, AND DISADVANTAGES

Forest Resource Base

Each cooperative in the study controls the forests where they work under

supervision of AFE/COHDEFOR or the municipality. The differences between the

forests have affected the groups in different ways. The higher-quality forests have a

higher value in terms of forestry and products that can be harvested. In general, the

forests can be ranked based upon size of trees present and site quality (soils, rainfall,

slope), from best to worst: Villa Santa, San José de Protección, Chaguite Grande,

Quebrada Honda, and Guadalupe. The forests of the Villa Santa and Guadalupe

Cooperatives have been degraded significantly as a result of pine bark beetle

(Dendroctonus frontinalis) infestations.

Because there has never been heavy logging in the area, the forest of Villa Santa

was the least disturbed of the five cooperatives studied. The cooperative was originally

founded to prevent foreign logging companies from cutting the area. There are large

areas of mature forest, and the trees in those areas can average over 30 inches d.b.h.

Cooperative members have counted over 250 growth rings on log specimens harvested

from the forest. Actual age is probably less due to the tendency of trees growing in

tropical climates to exhibit more than one growth ring per year. Until the arrival of the

bark beetle, the cooperative was able to manage the forest for resin and timber production

without significant degradation. At times, the high quality of the forest has been a

disadvantage for the cooperative. The sheer quantity of mature timber has been a

temptation for logging companies and even individual timber poachers. The cooperative

members have had to defend the forest from intrusion collectively and individually since

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