the dozens of legally recognized cooperatives in Honduras that have never harvested a
single tree or sold one barrel of resin because they have not obtained forest tenure.
Groups in the study obtained their rights through activism, concession, and inheritance.
Obtaining forest rights for the groups that have waited patiently for a piece of forest
should be a priority for FEHCAFOR, IHC, and international NGOs.
The second component of land tenure is maintaining tenure rights once they are
obtained. Legal tenure status does not guarantee absolute security. The three communal
forest cooperatives would appear to have the most secure tenure of the study
cooperatives, but in fact they have had to fight and struggle in order to maintain their
forest rights. Cooperativa Guadalupe had no formal legal rights to their forest until 1998,
but they have experienced no conflict over their forest. The use of usufruct contracts is
recommended to further guarantee established forest tenure for cooperatives.
The pattern of locally recognized ownership of resin plots is an important aspect
of tenure. Usually de facto ownership is not legally recognized, but the power it gives the
resinero is undeniable. This was especially true in Villa Santa, where the resineros
received a legal title to their plots.
Structure and Functionality of Cooperatives
The study cooperatives exhibited almost identical structure, but there were
significant differences in functionality between the groups. The most important things to
consider in the way cooperatives function are communication and participation. Groups
that communicate well assure that every member is informed about what is happening
with the cooperative. The same is true for participation. One mechanism for increasing