Guajilote, a forestry cooperative of Chaparral, was a result of a new movement among international donor agencies promoting sustainable economic development of developing countries natural resources. The cooperative was given the right to exploit naturally fallen mahogany trees in La Muralla’s buffer zone, where people were allowed to live in economically sustainable activities within this area.
In 1998, Guajilote has faced issues concerning its survival. For one thing, the amount of mahogany wood was limited and was threatened by forest fires and illegal logging. This would result to an international trading restriction. For another, the cooperative had no way to transport its would leaving it with no choice but to accept low prices from the distributor. Guajilote’s activities included three operations. First, members searched the area to locate fallen trees. Finding fallen mahogany in the buffer zone was hampered due to areas steep. Weather could also be a factor. Second, it set up a temporary hand-saw mill. Due to its steepness, it was difficult to find a suitable location for its operation. Tree size also affects the number of trees it could process. Third, wood can be carried out by mule and human power or floated down a river. The later can only be usable during wet season.
Management and Human Resource
Santos Munguia had been Guajilote’s leader since 1995. He was involved in local politics. Before he joined the cooperative, Guajilote had been receiving 3 to 4 lempras per foot of cut mahogany from its sole distributor, Juan Suazo who sold and transported the wood to Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula for 16 to 18 lempiras. Believing that Suzao was taking advantage, Munguia negotiated a 1 to 8 price increase by putting political pressure on Suazo. Because of this, Munguia became a quadillo, who usually makes the decision for the group.
Guajilote did not operate in a democratic fashion. There seem to be no problem with Munguia’s management style....