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effect here. When Cooperativa Guadalupe began marketing sawn lumber, they spent

over a year learning by trial and error how to deal with lumber buyers, which cost them

tens of thousands of Lempiras. Some cooperative leaders do learn to manage and govern

effectively, but these people are a tiny minority within cooperatives.

Benefits for Cooperative Members and Communities

Agroforestry cooperatives can provide multiple benefits to individual members

and their families as well as the communities where the cooperatives work. By

examining these different benefits, we can see some of the incentives communities may

have to participate in the Social Forestry System while managing and protecting the

forest. The benefits derived from forest management determine how much importance

the cooperative and community members put in the success of the cooperative.

For cooperative members, the most important benefit from being a member is

employment and income. The employment may be in resin tapping, logging, in sawmills,

or working on fire crews. When asked about the importance of resin tapping to one

informant, he replied, “Besides farming, tapping is the most important work I do. I plant

crops to feed my family, but the land here is bad. I have little land, and it almost never

produces extra to sell. Selling resin is the only way I can get cash to buy the things I

can’t grow.”

Families living in rural communities located in pine forests typically are

subsistence farmers. They grow crops on marginal soils and usually do not produce cash

crops or extra basic grains for sale. Jobs, even low-paying laborer jobs, are scarce in

these places. Families that do not work in forest management typically have few options


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