Established cooperatives that seek to improve and diversify or new cooperatives
just beginning can all learn from the cooperatives in this study. Their diverse histories
are a wealth of knowledge that includes both positive and negative experiences.
Forest Resource Base
The physical characteristics of the forest where a cooperative works is probably
not a good indicator of that group’s probability of success. It is important to characterize
the resource to know its potential and limitations. The forest is a piece of the puzzle, and
the sum of the parts and more important than the individual pieces.
It is interesting to note that the low economic value of Cooperativa Guadalupe’s
forest was actually an asset because no one wanted to steal it. The cooperative was able
to exist without significant tenure conflicts. In Villa Santa, the opposite was the case.
Their forest contains large volumes of valuable mature timber, but the Agriculture
Modernization Law prevented them from harvesting the volumes specified in their
management plan. The cooperative possessed an valuable resource, but they could not
benefit from it fully due to other factors.
Land or forest tenure is one of the most important factors for the success of a
cooperative. Forest tenure can be broken down into two components. The first
component is obtaining the tenure rights for the cooperative from inception. Without the
first step, nothing else can happen. The importance of this component is illustrated by