Looking at non-timber forest products is one of the ways that people are trying to find a balance between forest use and conservation. In areas designated as protected, around and in which people live, this balance is even more crucial. Such is the case in the Mache-Chindul Ecological Reserve in Ecuador. Conservationists, governments, and local activists are particularly concerned. This paper looks at how three different ethnic groups, mestizo, Afro-Ecuadorian, and the indigenous group, the Chachi, use a potentially sustainable resource, mocora, Astrocaryum standleyanum¸(Arecaceae), for fiber, fruit and oil. This study explores the differences and similarities between each group's use and collection of this plant while exploring the current and potential market possibilities. The study shows that considerable differences do emerge in terms of each group's utilization of this plant resource, and at the same time, commercial opportunities can exist for all three.
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