VERACRUZ, Mexico – Deep in the cloud forest of Cofre de Perote, Mexico’s eighth-highest peak, dozens of “father trees” are carefully preserved in accord with an approach that combines Finnish ideas of forestry with the traditional beliefs of indigenous Mexicans.
The Cofre de Perote National Park, covering 11,000 hectares (27,160 acres) in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, has become a prominent example of forest management policies implemented with technical assistance from Finland.
Over nearly three decades, local people have abandoned their former practice of cutting the best trees for sale in favor of preserving the father trees to improve the genome.
“This method of forestry management comes from the idea that sick, crooked, less attractive and weaker trees must be extracted, preserving the seed,” Pedro Ernesto del Castillo Cuba, general manager of the largest ranch in southeastern Mexico, said.
Bosque del Ciclo Verde, on the Cofre del Perote’s northeastern slope, was one of the first forestry enterprises in Mexico to adopt the Finnish model and is now among the best in terms of productivity.
At the ranch, a species of red pine reaches the diameter for commercial exploitation in 18 years compared with 100 years in other countries with forestry industries.
The new approach has restored nearly 6,000 hectares of trees that had been chopped down for cropland or pasture and boosted incomes for those who make their living from the forest.