charge a small tax, which could later be reinvested in forest management activities
including reforestation and fire protection. The cooperative worked and co-existed with
the Fondo for about six months, then members of the cooperative began to interfere with
the committee. This interference violated the contract agreed to and signed by the
cooperative, the Fondo, AFE/COHDEFOR, MAFOR, and the Municipality. This further
divided the community over whether the cooperative was trustworthy. At least one
resident did not think it was. “The Fondo was doing its job. Why did the cooperative
interfere? It’s obvious that they are greedy to cut the forest for their own profit. The
whole community should benefit if they are cutting.” At last notice, the cooperative was
inactive and waiting for meetings with the Municipality, COHDEFOR, and MAFOR to
decide what would be done.
Protección, unlike its two neighbor cooperatives, has never received extensive
assistance from a development project. MAFOR originally offered to work with
Protección, as well as Quebrada Honda and Chaguite Grande. The cooperative in San
José de Protección resisted the temptation to commit to MAFOR, which was offering
money and sweeping changes. The cooperative decided as a group that the project was
not in their best interests. One informant stated, “They wanted to log the forest with
independent groups, and we didn’t like the idea of giving responsibility for our forest to
anyone other than the cooperative.” Of all the cooperatives in this study, Protección is
the best example of a cooperative that has survived with little outside assistance.
The advantages and disadvantages of development assistance for cooperatives is
difficult to analyze because of different philosophies utilized in development projects.
AFOCO and MAFOR were similar, but the results were very different. The result of