The Impacts of Training, Technical Assistance and New Market Access for Community Forest Enterprises in the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve, Honduras
Covering over two million acres, the Rio Plátano Man and Biosphere Reserve (RPBR) is Honduras’s largest natural forest reserve and an area of global biodiversity importance. Twelve community cooperatives have been granted the right to harvest timber and non-timber forest products in multiple-use zones of the RPBR, but they face substantial technical and financial challenges. Community forest enterprise development, value added production and strategic alliances have put in place the fundamental building blocks for the long-term success of community forestry in the RPBR. This case study presents in detail the work of Rainforest Alliance and other forest communities, demonstrating how even in very difficult settings, relatively small investments in enterprise competitiveness can lead to significant and tangible gains for both conservation and development. Applying the principles of sustainable forest management and sound business practices, by 2008 the cooperatives had achieved remarkable successes in increasing their productivity, enterprise competitiveness and overall income.