In November of 2008, Rainforest Partnership began working with the community of Chipaota to develop a sustainable management plan that would provide the community with a steady income without having to cut down more of their forest. For years, the community subsisted by extracting the fibers of the piassaba palm and selling them in the local market. Often, the method for harvesting the fiber involved killing the piassaba palm tree. By reintroducing an extraction technique that did not require cutting down the piassaba, Rainforest Partnership helped the community develop a forest management plan.
In 2014, RP worked with 40 families to operate a communal business to harvest and market piassaba palm fibers, as well as the implementation of the women’s artisan group comprised of 15 women from the community. Because of the success of the management plan over the past five years, the municipality of Chazuta and the San Martin regional government are promoting the management plan as a model for sustainable development to be replicated in other forest communities elsewhere. The While the artisan project has focused on rescuing the knowledge of basket weaving that was being lost and has simultaneously acted as an agent to of empower the women of the community.
Forest Management Plan
In January 2009, the local Rainforest Partnership team together with the community of Chipaota carried out an inventory to create a management plan for the piassaba palm. This study verified that the forest contained 65,000 piassaba palms and called for the use of a new extraction technique that would not require cutting down the trees, thereby allowing the piassaba palm to regenerate itself every few years. The 5 year management plan has been approved twice, in 2009 and 2015 and is being promoted by the local government as a model for sustainable development to be replicated in other forest communities.
ECOMUSA and the Broom Making Facility
In October of 2009, Rainforest Partnership helped 40 families from the community of Chipaota create ECOMUSA, a community business to harvest and market piassaba palm fibers. The local RP team provided ECOMUSA members with basic finance and business management training and in early 2010, ECOMUSA began selling sustainably harvested piassaba palm fiber in the local market. With their savings from the sale of the sustainably harvested fiber, the community was able to purchase a tract of land for a broom making workshop and, in August 2010 after a summer of hard work, the community of Chipaota completed its new broom making workshop facility. Now, the members of ECOMUSA earn more than double the income selling brooms than when they sold just the raw fiber.