cooperative signed a usufruct contract with AFE/COHDEFOR in 1998 in accordance
with the Agricultural Modernization Law of 1992. The contract gave the cooperative
exclusive harvesting rights in their forest.
The situation of the Cooperativa Guadalupe is somewhat different. They did not
have to fight initially to be given rights to the forest. They were assigned a forest area
where they could tap trees for resin after the cooperative formed. The cooperative and its
members did not have any guarantee or contract for their forest, but there was never any
threat to the cooperative’s claim on the land due to the low quality of the forest it held.
The same framework of locally-recognized ownership of resin plots was present within
these communities as in Villa Santa.. The cooperative existed in relative tranquility until
Project AFOCO arrived in the communities. With the addition of a management plan
and logging, the project negotiated a 40-year usufruct contract between the cooperative
and AFE/COHDEFOR. The contract solidified the cooperative’s legal claim over the
forest against future challenges even in the absences of such threats.
The communal tenure arrangement for the cooperatives in San José de Protección,
Quebrada Honda, and Chaguite Grande is an interesting case. There are two titles for the
forest land of the three groups. The forests of Protección and Quebrada Honda belong to
the same title, which is called the Potrero Grande title. Chaguite Grande has its own title.
These communities have held the titles to their forest for almost 100 years. In that time
they have managed the forest for resin, timber, and firewood production while protecting
it against encroachment and degradation by outside interests.
Informants from Protección related stories about defending their land titles from
the various mayors from Villa de San Antonio. The titles are kept in the village of San