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management. When the project ended in 2002, cooperative members were handling all

of these functions. In addition, the cooperative now has capable managers who know

how to manage the sawmill and sell the lumber it produces. The usufruct contract

guarantees secure forest tenure for the cooperative. The cooperative also pays for and

organizes a fire crew each dry season to put out fires and manage controlled burns.

However, there is a sense that AFOCO tried to do too much too fast. The

transition from a cooperative of resineros to a diversified group working in resin tapping,

logging, and lumber conversion is a drastic one. The time frame for implementing these

changes was short, and good planning and execution suffered as a result. Many members

of the cooperative were overwhelmed and bitter about the changes made. The resineros

were the ones who felt most affected by the changes. They never had a clear

understanding of the management plan and the harvesting system because they were

never explained to them, even though they were most affected by these changes. One

resinero recalled how a cut was done in his plot without warning or explanation.

“One day I was emptying cups, and I saw that there were blue and white paint spots on the trees. I didn’t know why someone painted the trees. Eight month later, some compañeros (friends) from the cooperative showed up with chain saws and started cutting down my trees. They said it was for the management plan, and the technicians from AFOCO said that they needed to cut some of the trees so others could grow better. But, I lost many trees from my plot that could still be tapped. They told me I couldn’t tap the trees with white paint, either. The same thing is happening to other resineros. There are more resineros in the cooperative than those working in logging. How can they just take our trees?”

The sawmill was the best example of poor planning and an overly optimistic

timetable. Because no one in the project had experience with sawmills, they did not


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