Description

There is a widespread view that commercialization of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in the tropical forests of Mesoamerica is both economically and environmentally sustainable in rural communities. Despite this belief, research shows that the harvesting and commercialization of NTFPs alone do not necessarily alleviate poverty or maintain biodiversity within rainforests. This paper describes the eco-palm program, a program which serves to sustainably harvest and export Chamaedorea palm fronds from Southern Mexico and Northern Guatemala. The eco-palm program works with churches in the United States to charge a five cent premium on palm fronds that are imported from Mexico and Guatemala annually for Palm Sunday services. Through the eco-palm program, rural harvesters are taught how to sustainably harvest the palms and subsequently reduce over-harvesting that leads to destruction of the tropical forests. Consequently, the program reduces inequitable profits to rural farmers by providing them with additional income. The eco-palm program is an example of a rapidly growing specialized market project for an NTFP and provides a potential example of an economic and environmentally sustainable trade program.

Start Date

8-3-2008 8:00 AM

End Date

8-3-2008 5:00 PM

Subject - LCSH

Non-timber forest resources--Central America; Forest conservation--Central America; Sustainable forestry--Central America; Palms--Economic aspects;

Geographic Coverage

Central America

Genre/Form

Conference Papers and Proceedings

Session

Sustaining Environments

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Digital Format

application/pdf

Language

English

Type

event

Included in

Geography Commons

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Mar 8th, 8:00 AM Mar 8th, 5:00 PM

Eco-palms: providing a sustainable commercial alternative to palms for Palm Sunday.

There is a widespread view that commercialization of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in the tropical forests of Mesoamerica is both economically and environmentally sustainable in rural communities. Despite this belief, research shows that the harvesting and commercialization of NTFPs alone do not necessarily alleviate poverty or maintain biodiversity within rainforests. This paper describes the eco-palm program, a program which serves to sustainably harvest and export Chamaedorea palm fronds from Southern Mexico and Northern Guatemala. The eco-palm program works with churches in the United States to charge a five cent premium on palm fronds that are imported from Mexico and Guatemala annually for Palm Sunday services. Through the eco-palm program, rural harvesters are taught how to sustainably harvest the palms and subsequently reduce over-harvesting that leads to destruction of the tropical forests. Consequently, the program reduces inequitable profits to rural farmers by providing them with additional income. The eco-palm program is an example of a rapidly growing specialized market project for an NTFP and provides a potential example of an economic and environmentally sustainable trade program.