“As a result of the programs being implemented by the incumbent government and innovative initiatives like Reforestamos México’s Young Forestry Entrepreneur project, history is changing.”
Deforestation is an environmental problem of global proportions. According to data furnished by Global Forest Watch, the world lost 29.4 million hectares of forest in 2017—an area more than twice the size of Germany.
Mexico’s forestry-timber-furniture chain contributes to the problem, producing as it does mainly low-cost species and applications with no added value. To add fuel to the fire, the transformation of timber into secondary products like furniture and decorative articles is rudimentary and inefficient, while many communities whose livelihoods depend on timber/furniture production lack access to technology, formal training and proper distribution channels.
Mexico has over 15 million hectares of commercially exploitable forests, and its weather and biodiversity make it suited to the production of high-value species like mahogany and cedar. According to the International Tropical Timber Organization, Mexico spearheads conifer veneer production in Latin America and the Caribbean with 300,000 cubic meters, equivalent to 35% of the region’s total output.
As a result of programs being implemented by the incumbent government and innovative initiatives like Reforestamos México’s Young Forestry Entrepreneurs project, history is changing. The latter is focused on creating entrepreneurial platforms to assure forests and foster their expansion. It also helps communities organize themselves into productive chains and exploit forests in a rational, sustainable way that creates business and job opportunities.
CrayoBambu is a project born of this initiative that makes use of bamboo in its natural state to produce colored crayons. The high school students from Oaxaca who started the project view it as a means of checking over-exploitation of timber and recouping resources that normally go to waste, not to mention creating job opportunities for locals, according to sources at Reforestemos México.
Forestry entrepreneurs and sustainability are among the topics that will be discussed at MEM Industrial. Scheduled to take place in January 2020 at Centro Citibanamex in Mexico City, the event will be a chance for the Mexican and foreign companies that supply these sectors with technology and inputs to showcase their solutions. We invite you to learn more about the project at www.MEMindustrial.mx.
BY EUGENIO CARRILLO*