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CONCLUSIONS

The future of the Honduran Social Forestry System depends on strengthening and

developing existing groups while promoting new ones. This study outlines many of the

benefits provided by agroforestry cooperatives at the local level. At the national level,

thriving agroforestry cooperatives can mean more employment, stronger rural economies,

reduced deforestation, and well-managed forests. To accomplish these ends, existing

cooperatives struggle to thrive within the system of cooperatives, forestry, and rural

communities. They face diverse challenges: difficult bureaucratic processes, fluctuating

markets, illegal competition, physical and cultural isolation, lack of education, uncertain

land tenure, loss of forest land, scarce capitol resources, and natural threats to the forests

they work in. The cooperatives described in the current study have succeeded in some

areas while struggling in others. When improvement is the goal, failure and success are

equally valuable because of the lessons learned through them.

Obtaining and defending tenure rights to their forests has been a triumph for these

cooperatives. Villa Santa won their forest by defending it against exploitation from

commercial loggers. Protección, Quebrada Honda, and Chagüite Grande have guarded

their ancestral rights to the forest successfully against those who would take them. The

cooperatives have contributed to the development of their communities through

community projects and support because well-being of the community is as important to

them as that of the individual. The cooperatives strive to be responsible citizens by

following the law and contributing their part to village, municipal, and national

organizations through fees, taxes, and contributions. Rational utilization and protection

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