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well. When the mayor was elected to the national congress, he left ni un cinco (not one

nickel) in the municipal coffers.

In spite of the conflicts, the cooperatives have managed to continue working in

the forest. The communities’ strong hold on the forest has prevented corrupt city

officials from potentially stripping the resource. One long-time COHDEFOR employee

cited a cooperative he had helped train whose communal forest was logged by two

mayors, leaving the cooperative with almost nothing.

Members from all five cooperatives have tapped resin in private forest. The

proportion of resineros working on private land from each cooperative amounts to less

than five percent of the land area under resin tapping (estimation based on estimates from

cooperative members). The arrangements made for tapping resin on private land vary a

great deal. Typically, the resinero pays the landowner a percentage of the income earned

from tapping or a set price per barrel of resin extracted. These arrangements are normally

not secure. The landowner may decide to sell the land or stop allowing tapping on the

land. The resinero is then forced to find somewhere else to tap.

The most important thing that can be learned from the tenure arrangements of

these cooperatives is that their initial access to the forest has made it possible for them to

exist. Without secure forest access, cooperatives cannot exist in the long term. In San

José de Protección, Quebrada Honda, and Chaguite Grande, their ancestral legal claim to

the forest was a great advantage. The people in Villa Santa obtained their forest through

organization and activism, and the Cooperativa Guadalupe was granted access to a forest

which had little value for anyone else. The critical nature of land tenure for cooperatives

was emphasized many times for the author while working with FEHCAFOR. He talked


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