Rainforest Matters
A bimonthly publication of the Rainforest Alliance

July/August 2002

* Palatable Policy in Minnesota
* Selva Negra, the Black Forest of Nicaragua
* Huge Shrimp
* Personal Canopy
* La Costa Rica de Mis Sueños


Palatable Policy in Minnesota

The Rainforest Alliance applauds a recent decisions by Aveda and Summit
Brewing Company, both based in Minnesota, to use wood certified by the
Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood program in the companies' wood pallets.
This simple but effective local policy promotes balanced and responsible
forest management. Pallets are wood platforms used in warehouses, and
are made from low-quality trees that are harvested to improve the
overall health and condition of the forest. The SmartWood program is
accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international
body that establishes the standards for forestry certification.
Consumers can trust wood products and timber that bear the FSC and
SmartWood seals.

The Minnesota Pallet Story:
Minnesota is a pioneer in forest certification with almost one million
acres of county, state and private forestland recognized as being
responsibly managed. Over-cut during the last century, Minnesota's
forests are today in a "healing process," and certification is a tool in
the effort to restore the health, productivity and value of the state's
forestlands. Good forest management almost always requires removing the
worst trees and leaving the best ones in the forest, resulting in
healthy, productive, more durable forests. Defective or unhealthy trees
produce low-quality boards that have limited uses. Even Bob Villa would
not use a board with stains, knots, twisted grain and rot in a piece of
furniture or as trim on a doorway. But these flawed boards make perfect
pallets and are therefore a thrifty use of low-quality trees.

The wood is harvested in Aitkin County, Minn., by Tveit Logging and is
turned into pallets by Stewarts Forest Products.

Visit these Web sites to learn more about commitments to sustainability:
Aveda:  http://aveda.com/protect/we/default.asp
Summit Brewery:  http://www.summitbrewing.com

What is SmartWood Certification? http://www.smartwood.org/


Selva Negra, the Black Forest of Nicaragua

Selva Negra, a farm enrolled in the Rainforest Alliance's sustainable
agriculture program, is one of the most diversified in all of Central
America. One half of the heavenly landscape is maintained as untouched
primary forest, providing habitat for puma, sloth, ocelot, anteaters,
wild boar, peccaries, howler monkeys and more. Three hundred acres are
devoted to shaded coffee, all of which is dried in the sun, rather than
using energy intensive industrial dryers. Mausi and Eddy Kuhl, the
farm's owners, were the very first to use an innovative technology that
produces methane from coffee waste (mucilage and pulp). The
clean-burning methane can then be used for cooking. The Kuhl's have
devoted another 100 acres to horticulture - vegetables, flowers,
livestock and dairy (including a cheese processing facility).

Selva Negra employs 180 permanent workers and an average of 400
temporary workers and the Kuhl's manage their own exporting company.
They also cater to eco-tourists, providing 23 bungalows, a youth hostel,
chapel and a restaurant.

In order to meet the Rainforest Alliance's rigorous standards for
certification, Selva Negra has built chimneys to ventilate worker
housing and has discontinued its use of all agrochemicals. The farm
spends about $6 per quintal (that's about 45 lbs of unroasted coffee) on
social benefits for the farm workers. They include an on-site school
that employs two teachers, for grades kindergarten - 5. The children
receive free milk, and workers are given three meals per day. Everybody
has access to a 24-hour health clinic, and all worker homes have
electricity. A fishing pond on the property allows workers to supplement
their family's diets with a fresh catch whenever they would like.

Learn more about the sustainable coffee project and support Selva Negra
and other progressive farms by purchasing Rainforest Alliance-certified
products: http://ra.org/programs/cap/program-description3.html

Visit Selva Negra: http://www.selvanegra.com/en/Home-Coffee.html


Huge Shrimp

Government policies, illegal logging and particularly a hearty appetite
for shrimp among U.S. and European consumers are fueling the devastating
loss of mangrove forests along much of Latin America's coasts. Mangrove
destruction has ruined natural wildlife habitats, crippled local
economies, upset coastal cultures and even led to violent confrontations
in some countries. Conservation groups in eight Latin American countries
plus the United States recently banded together to try to stem the loss
of mangroves. Last March, representatives of the Latin American Mangrove
Network for the Defense of Coastal Ecosystems and Community Life met in
Venezuela to plan a strategy for working together to "defend mangrove
forests and coastal ecosystems."


Personal Canopy

Now you can have your very own canopy! When you join the Rainforest
Alliance, you will receive a beautiful and sturdy leaf-print umbrella.
Don't get left out in the rain.


La Costa Rica de Mis Sueños

Sueño con una costa rica,
Por cuyos rios y riachuelos fluye agua,
Agua abundante, agua limpia, agua viva.

Agua que nace en los parques nacionales,
Agua que surge por doquier.

Agua que pasa por  hogares, industrias y plantìos,
agua que nutre nuestro cuerpo.

Agua que siempre abundante, limpia y viva,
es recibida con regocijo por las criaturas de mar.

Sueño que en todos los confines de esta patria,
sus habitantes cuidan sin descanso sus rios y riachuelos,
porque el agua que corre por ellos,
es la misma que fluye en sus venas.

Sueño que visitantes de otros paises,
cuentan de una tierra llamada costa rica,
cuyos habitantes dicen que el agua de sus rios y riachuelos,
es la misma que fluye en sus venas.

©Alvaro Ugalde
The author is the environmental program officer for the Costa Rica-USA
Foundation and is a co-founder of Costa Rica's national parks system.

The mission of the Rainforest Alliance is to protect ecosystems and the
people and wildlife that live within them by implementing better business
practices for biodiversity conservation and sustainability.  Companies,
cooperatives, and landowners that participate in our programs meet strict
standards for protecting the environment, wildlife, workers, and local

Rainforest Information Centre
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