Our three-year effort with the Rainforest Alliance to improve the sustainability of the forest industry in the rugged La Mosquitia region of northeastern Honduras has drawn to a close, and the results of the project are in.
According to the Rainforest Alliance’s data, we met our goal of expanding the amount of forest under Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)-certified management. More than 81,500 additional hectares of mahogany and other hardwoods are now under improved management or in the process of obtaining FSC® certification.
We also helped strengthen forest-related businesses and livelihoods, another key objective. Management capacities improved among 18 small- and medium-sized enterprises, and more than 650 permanent jobs were created. Producers secured new business alliances, providing new market access. And sales of sustainably produced timber products were increased, reaching a total of $2.1 million over three years and surpassing our original goal by 22 percent.
By these and other measures, the project was a success. At the same time, the residents of La Mosquitia, many of them indigenous people who’ve called the region home for centuries, still face formidable challenges. Local infrastructure is sparse, equipment and the power to run it can be hard to come by, and financing is often out of reach.
“Though the way forward in La Mosquitia remains unclear, we’re hopeful that our work with the Rainforest Alliance has provided a model that banks and the Honduran government can follow so that the gains the people of La Mosquitia have made might be sustainable,” said Alicia Procello, president of the Avery Dennison Foundation, which funded the project. “We hope our involvement will inspire others in business and government to engage there.”
We’re now working with the Rainforest Alliance in the Appalachian U.S. to help increase the amount of FSC®-certified forestland in that region. Read more.