- WISH LIST
Learn how GreenWood entrepreneurs are earning a livelihood and preserving forests. See more videos of our work.
GreenWood launched its integrated program of artisan development on the North Coast of Honduras in 1993 as field project of the Woodworkers Alliance for Rainforest Protection (WARP). (WARP was a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving forests through responsible wood use. It provided the early impetus for the founding of the world’s premier forest certification program, the Forest Stewardship Council.) In 2001 GreenWood was incorporated as a U.S.-based nonprofit educational organization [501(c)(3)]. By 2005, it had established a nonprofit counterpart, Fundación MaderaVerde, in Honduras, where it has trained more than 100 artisans, sawyers and forest owners in ten different communities and helped to manage more than 30,000 acres of tropical forest.
GreenWood set high standards for collaboration with local communities, local and international nonprofits and government. GreenWood staff in Honduras devised and implemented the first government-sanctioned, secondary forest management program in the country. Secondary forests throughout the region represent an undervalued and largely untapped resource whose potential is routinely overlooked by governments, NGOs and the market.
Utilizing wood and nontimber products from secondary forests, GreenWood artisans in Honduras currently produce more than 40 furniture designs and accessories, which are sold mainly to local and regional clients. In the village of Mezapita, Atlántida, GreenWood conducted an inventory and developed a management and harvest plan for mimbre, a wicker-like vine that’s traditionally extracted through uncontrolled practices. GreenWood’s innovative management was funded by USAID and its plan was approved by AFE-COHDEFOR, the governing forest authority in Honduras. This landmark process brought together a broad range of stakeholders within the client community (forest owners, womens’s groups, sawyers, artisans, local leaders and others) and fostered participation and transparency among individuals and organizations that had previously enjoyed little communication or coordination.
Over the last several years, GreenWood has produced ship's knees for the reproduction Schooner Amistad, at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. We have conducted boatbuilding workshops and organized the production and export of numerous containers of high-quality mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) guitar parts from the community of Copén, Honduras, to the Taylor Guitar Company in California. Copén lies in the Department of Colón, in the buffer zone of the 1.3-million-acre Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, and the community’s forest enterprise was among the first in the world to become FSC certified. The GreenWood boatbuilding and guitar-part initiative was realized with minimal grant support, almost all project-related expenses having been underwritten by the proceeds from product sales. Building on its relationships with Copén and Taylor, GreenWood is now incorporating other marginalized neighboring communities in the program, which will strengthen and expand this bulwark of sustainable development in the periphery of the Biosphere.