The community forest network: A tool for strengthening community capacity


M. Jara

Type of Document:
Scholarly Article



Date of Publication:

Place of Publication:
Athens, GA


Small, independent loggers tend to be characterized by low levels of organization, their inherent disadvantages when dealing with middlemen and the timber industry, and their lack of resources for improving their condition as timber suppliers. These factors led to the creation of the Community Forest Network (CFN), the first association of lumber producers in Ecuador made up of communities who own forests and who are interested in managing forest resources in a sustainable fashion.

The objectives of the CFN is to create a united front for the purpose of selling lumber while at the same time protecting the economic interests of the forest communities in the northern region of the province of Esmeraldas. Members attempt to improve market prices by offering wholesale prices to various communities, thus improving their negotiating and sales position vis-a-vis buyers, and eliminating the middleman and dealing instead directly with the wholesale buyer.

In order to be part of the CFN, a community must fulfill a series of requirements which include: possession of forest, interest in sustainable management of the forest, organized forest production through a community forest committee, and the support and approval of community members. The CFN offers a number of benefits to member communities, including technical assistance, better prices and a stronger negotiating position, regular training in forestry, legal and market matters, support of other CFN members, and access to market information on prices and buyers.

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