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Low-Tech Log Conversion: A New Path for Small Forest Communities
January 20, 2009
Throughout most of its recorded history, the Zona Maya region of southeastern México has enjoyed an abundance of bigleaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla). Over the centuries, these forests have been exploited in different ways by different groups. Until recently, forests in the area were effectively "mined" by large parastatal enterprises and a handful of private contractors, who were granted vast timber concessions by the government. The Organización de Ejidos Productores Forestales de la Zona Maya (OEPFZM) was created in 1986 to support its member ejidos [local communities] in the administration and training needed to achieve sustainable forest management. OEPFZM launched a pilot program a few months ago in one of its smaller ejidos to assess the viability of an alternate method of low-tech timber processing, employing portable chainsaw "micromills" to supply lumber for a community carpentry shop. Other efforts to improve efficiency will include the use of special sharpening equipment and saw chain. Every step the ejidos take to improve their sawing, cant extraction, resawing and value-added processing will optimize the costs of production and help redefine the best practices for forest communities in Quintana Roo. Read on...!
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