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them. It doesn’t cost them anything except a little to bribe COHDEFOR or the police.

Then they can sell the wood at a lower price, and that hurts us.” The task of jumping

through hoops for AFE/COHDEFOR is a burden on cooperative leaders, who often

become frustrated by the bureaucratic process. The financial burden of wasted time and

red tape is a disincentive for working within the law.

AFE/COHDEFOR’s capacity to serve all forestry sectors was further reduced in

2003 when government budget cuts forced it to lay off half of its employees. The

insufficient human resources from the past have been cut in half, and the difficulty of

getting support from AFE/COHDEFOR has multiplied.

Dealing with municipalities can be another obstacle to the cooperatives. The

groups that work in the Municipality of Villa de San Antonio must work closely with the

Municipality. In spite of the conflicts about forest ownership over the years, these

cooperatives must pay stumpage fees to the Municipality and obtain approval for plans

and permission to harvest wood and resin with them as well. The Municipality of Villa

San Antonio charges the cooperatives the same stumpage fees that AFE/COHDEFOR

charges on surrounding national forest. In the end, AFE/COHDEFOR still has to

approve all plans, and they also charge a small tax. These cooperatives feel it is unjust

for the Municipality to charge such a large stumpage on land that belongs to the

cooperative to begin with. The Municipality does not provide services to the

communities for the fees they charge. “They don’t help us with anything. They just hold

out their hand. When we built our water project, the Municipality didn’t contribute.”

Cooperativa Guadalupe has had some problems with the Municipality in

Yuscarán since the new mayor was elected in 2002. The cooperative always paid a small


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