This project proposal was developed in response to the recommendations of the ITTO Technical Mission to Panama in August 2004 which, among others, emphasised the importance of replicating in other Embera-Wounaan Territory communities the Responsible Forest Management and Trade Model developed by WWF in the Tupiza river communities. Overall, the project seeks to increase the national timber volume for processing and marketing of forest products derived from sustainably managed forests in the Embera-Wounaan Indigenous Territory, destined for domestic and international markets, and increase Panama's GDP as a result. At the same time, it also aims to increase the competitiveness of the forest sector in Panama by ensuring the supply of forest timber raw materials from well-managed forests, with the involvement of community groups organised as enterprises and businesses.
Moreover, the strategy of this project is to strengthen the capacity and knowledge of indigenous communities in Darien to manage forest lands within their territory with a view towards reversing the ever decreasing trend in the supply of raw material from natural tropical forests and the practices that lead to illegal logging and degradation of forest ecosystems in the Darien region of Panama.
Major outputs are as follows:
- Two community blocks demarcated for the development of forest management plans in the Tuqueza and Chucunaque river communities, covering 30,000 and 15,000 hectares respectively;
- Two community forest enterprises set up with equal involvement of participating communities and legal capacity obtained by the enterprises;
- Two inventories, two general management plans and two environmental impact assessments developed for each block in the Tuqueza and Chucunaque river communities;
- Two forest harvesting operations implemented, with production estimated at 25,000 cubic metres;
- Marketing of 25,000 cubic metres of timber from two operational plans in the Darien communities; and
- A strategy designed for the National Environmental Authority so as to minimise the adverse effects of illegal logging as well as a follow-up plan for the project.