Case study on Coomflona as Successful Brazilian Timber Cooperative
In 2000, a change in the law in Brazil gave indigenous communities the right to live within public forests. This coincided with growing recognition that local communities are essential in managing forest resources to both conserve the forest and create local sources of income. The Mixed Cooperative of the Tapajós National Forest (Cooperativa Mista Verde da Flona do Tapajós or COOMFLONA) is a community-based forest cooperative that manages a large-scale forest enterprise in the Brazilian Amazon, run by and for local communities. COOMFLONA has obtained FSC certification while creating much-needed jobs and income for community members. This chapter describes how, despite facing many challenges related to leadership, financial viability and access to forest resources, COOMFLONA has found that partnerships with social movements, government agencies, NGOs and the local university have been essential to overcoming these obstacles.