Community Forestry in Guatemala
In the early 1990's, the Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood program began to certify forestland in Guatemala to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Roughly a decade later, our Training, Extension, Enterprises and Sourcing (TREES) program began providing technical assistance to Guatemalan forest communities, part of a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project -- Certified Sustainable Products Alliance -- that included work in sustainable agriculture and tourism.
Through ongoing funding from USAID under the Forestry Enterprises in Guatemala (FEG) project -- complemented by support from a growing body of international, regional and national donors including the Argidius Foundation, Richardson Foundation, Gibson Foundation and Citigroup Foundation -- we have increased our impact in Guatemala and developed a truly country-wide initiative.
Our central focus in Guatemala is maximizing economic benefits obtained from sustainable forest management. Our approach has four main technical components:
- Business Development and Competitiveness: We work with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to increase their competitiveness in the marketplace by providing "learning by doing" training on structuring and operating SMEs, value-added processing and business skills. Business development assistance is critical to creating business models, platforms and value chains that are profitable and ripe for growth.
- FSC Certification and Carbon Verification: We aim to maintain and expand the forest area certified to FSC standards in Guatemala and facilitate forest carbon project development with methodologies validated to internationally recognized systems and standards such as the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance standard.
- Market Linkages: We help SMEs find markets for certified timber and non-timber forest products (NTFPs), as well as buyers for verified carbon credits.
- Business Environment: Financing and investments based on solid business plans and durable market linkages are crucial for the growth of SMEs involved in climate change initiatives or the production of NTFPs and wood products.
For more information, please contact your regional TREES representative.