Teken Sy Forestry Program

TEA Eco-forestry program began in 1997 with a salvage license for about 70 logs left by a Mexican company and an anonymous donation from Germany for the development of a new and better sustainable logging system. After applying some pressure on the Ministry of Tourism, the TEA finally got the salvage license to cut logs. The Ministry endorsed this plan, and even compensated TEA for the license fees. The logs were cut with portable saws in the jungle and carried out on the men's backs using the traditional macapal strap and horses. Boards were cut on site so the resulting sawdust could be utilized as a natural fertilizers for the area.

TEA named this much less destructive method the Teken Sy system - Teken in Kek'chi and Sy in Mopan are both names for the leaf cutter ants that can carry loads of up to two-thirds their own body weight through the jungles of Toledo.  Tools, wood and training were provided to community groups, and wood products were produced in all fourteen villages. Unfortunately, the program was interrupted by the forestry department demanding prohibitive royalties for the logs.