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TREES Program: How We Work

The goal of the Rainforest Alliance's Training, Extension, Enterprises and Sourcing (TREES) Program is to link biodiversity conservation with sustainable forestry practices by enhancing the economic competitiveness of community-based small and medium forestry enterprises (SMEs). In particular, we:

  • Train communities and forest managers in sustainable forestry practices, including sustainable harvesting, erosion control and conservation of endangered species and ecosystems;
  • Assist communities to create and maintain viable forest-based enterprises, specifically by:
    • Helping increase the sales volume and revenue of Forest Stewardship Council-certified timber through moving companies and forest management operations toward forestry certification;
    • Improving business and financial management skills to build enterprise capacity, and increase access to financial services;
    • increasing production efficiencies by reducing waste from raw material, and optimizing human resources;
    • Exploring new product development, particularly using lesser known species (LKS) and non-timber forest products (NTFPs);
    • Incorporating quality control;
    • Fostering market linkages and new business opportunities;
    • Improving yield and wood utilization;
    • Creating new sources of employment and income in rural areas by:
      • Fostering SME development in forest-dependent communities;
      • Linking communities with payment for ecosystem services opportunities, such as carbon sequestration projects;
  • Work with local and national governance to create favorable policies for sustainable forest management;
  • Link SMEs with potential buyers of their products, leveraging our long-term relationships with companies such as IKEA, DLH, Staples, Gibson, Century Furniture, LL Bean, Marks and Spencer and ABC Home and Furniture; and
  • Build consumer awareness by educating shoppers, printers, builders, designers, architects and others about the conservation and economic benefits of responsibly-sourced wood.

TREES develops projects through a combination of multilateral or bilateral government funds, private investment and foundation grants at national and regional levels. To see an example of TREES work, check out our regional MIF/IDB funded project that spans Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru. Our projects are implemented in the field by teams of experts in disciplines ranging from forest management, forest product development and marketing, to business planning and economics and community participation. Our work creates new jobs and increases the economic well-being of families, using sustainable forest management as a tool in global poverty reduction.

3 things you can do to make a difference:

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