Cooperativa Carmelita

Cooperativa Carmelita
San Andrés, Petén, Guatemala

Cooperative Carmelita has more than 120 years of existence.  The Carmelita Concession limits to the north with the biological corridor and the El Mirador National Park, to the east with the municipality of San José, to the west with the Biological Corridor and Laguna del Tigre and to the south with the village of La Pasadita, La Colorada and Cross the Colorada.  La Aldea Carmelita belongs to the San Andrés Municipality, in Peten province. It is the northernmost community in the Republic of Guatemala. It is part of the areas known as the Multiple Use Area (“Zonas de Usos Multiples – ZUM) – within the Maya Biosphere Reserve RBM-.

The community, today with a population of 411 inhabitants, began as a “chiclero camp” – dedicated for many years to the use of Chicle and Xate, two native species. At the time, the authorities promoted the Wood industry as another activity in the region, causing foreign and local companies profit from selective logging of commercial species.

Currently the Cooperative Carmelita has almost completed 25 years of the first forest concession contract and has recently signed for the renewal of a second concession contract valid until year 2047, so the Cooperative has secured 27 years to carry out sustainable forest management in the management unit.

The current forest management can be defined as areas of little intervention or small degradation, with an ideal production potential between 2 to 4 cubic meters per hectare, for long harvest cycles of a maximum of 40 years. With the inclusion of industrial capabilities to develop the final product offering with higher added value, the forest management activities seek to generate sources of employment and promote the local economy. Cooperative Carmelita is one of the few communities with various business initiatives, ranging from the production of wood, non-timber products, honey, agroforestry and also, in recent years, tourism activity has also been possible through organised trips to the nearby archaeological sites, such as El Mirador.

The basis for improving the forest productivity is based on the approval of the latest management plan recently submitted to the authorities (CONAP) in which an extra 20,000 h.a. are included for forestry management, bringing the total forest area to 43,729.15 h.a. Otherwise the productivity of the forest will remain relatively low compared to its full potential. Efficiency is achieved with good planning, administrative and technical capacity, in addition to having sufficient financial resources to operate and acquire sophisticated equipment and machinery to carry out the exploitation