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