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Bolivia: Sustainable forestry through corporate-community partnership

General information
Project location: Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
Consortium: Southern Lumber and Veneer L.L.C. and SLV Bolivia S.R.L.
Project Budget: Euro 1.5 million
External financing: PSI
Project period: 1-6-2010 until 31-03-2012

About 10 million ha of forest in Bolivia are ‘under management’ by commercial enterprises, rural cooperatives, private individuals and communities. As they lack the necessary resources, communities have little option but to sell their logging rights to informal logging operations that generally disrespect sustainable logging methods, produce wood without required documentation and avoid paying taxes.

The extracted logs end up as illegal wood on the local construction market. This is an altogether unsatisfactory situation as:

  • forest owners get a poor return on their valuable forest capital
  • illegal wood competes with legal wood in the local market place
  • certified wood processors are short of raw material as they cannot accept illegal wood
  • the value chain falls considerably short of its potential.

The project is proposed by Southern Lumber & Veneer (SLV), a US-based group that has recently completed a substantial investment in a veneer plant near Santa Cruz. To meet their raw material needs, SLV plans to enter into durable cooperation with Community Forest Organisations (CFOs). The long-term partnership with the CFOs is an essential condition for making investments in local capacity building and will be a stepping stone for communities to achieve a better return on their forest capital.

An FSC-certified logging service will be set up under a new company that will work with CFOs and assist them to become suppliers of legal, eventually FSC-certified, wood. The company will undertake logging according to FSC -approved standards, provide forestry equipment and training to CFO workers so that they can participate in the logging operations, deploy mobile equipment to saw wood left over after log sectioning into lumber that CFOs can sell to the market, and support CFOs on their way to have their forest resources FSC-certified.

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