In Guatemala, it is widely recognized that illegal activities in the forest sector lead to significant loss not only for the sector but also for Guatemalan society as a whole. Uncontrolled harvesting of firewood and timber is one of the main causes of the reduction in forest resource volumes. It is estimated that more than 95% of forest product flows in Guatemala (approximately 28.6 out of the 30.7 million m3 harvested in 2006) are extracted out of the control of the government (URL, IARNA, 2009. Integrated Forest Accounting).
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This volume comprises 76% of firewood and 24% of timber. It is estimated that out of the 6.87 million m3 processed by the industry, a total 4.6 million m3 is not sourced under control and is geared to the domestic market, mainly for primary processing or sawmilling.
Since 1999, there has been a need to carry out research on new processing techniques, processing efficiency and specialized processing procedures. With regard to efficiency levels, current primary sawmilling yield rates depend on the technology used and the main product type, e.g. boards, planks or beams (Zamora & Barrera, 2010).
In order to improve forest industry efficiency, skilled personnel is also needed to develop efficient production lines for existing and innovative products, to conduct studies on yield, timelines and flows, to optimize processing techniques based on optimal wood cutting and feed speeds, and to develop work programs (Zamora & Barrera, 2010).
The pre-project “Improving forest product monitoring and efficiency through the development of a program to enhance the performance of the primary forest processing industry” is hereby proposed in order to contribute to finding a solution to the above problems. The implementation of the pre-project is expected to achieve the following objectives:
•Contribute to improving forest product monitoring and efficiency and enhancing sustainable forest management in Guatemala.
•Provide a standardized methodology to establish primary sawmilling yield levels in the processing of major forest species in Guatemala so as to develop a project proposal aimed at improving primary sawmilling monitoring and control and enhancing processing efficiency and legal marketing of timber.