Licuri is a highly valuable tree species, both to local ecosystems and in traditional cultural uses, with a clear commercial niche. Its productive and sustainable uses are directly linked to ecosystem conservation and women’s empowerment—which is being further developed to great success. Project partners are working together to increase the mechanization of the licuri harvesting and production process, aiming to lessen the time-burden on women and enhance their livelihood potential. Fostering a more comprehensive understanding of the licuri’s value has also led women and local communities to stop cutting down the trees and instead ensure forests remain intact. Restoring licuri forests is then further leading to the strengthening of the licuri market, making them more attractive to farmers and landowners, not to mention consumers.
Recognizing and integrating gender concerns and efforts toward advancing gender equality makes a difference in the success of the licuri value chain, as today licuri is still mostly manually harvested and processed by women—not only because this work is traditionally viewed as a woman’s duty, but because women understand its great nutritional and economic value. Women are taking ownership over its ecosystem value, as well. Restoring licuri forests for nutritional and economic reasons results in a key opportunity to incentivize licuri conservation for longer-term sustainable use, as well as for ecosystem benefits. Rather than removing trees for short term gain, long-term wellbeing is being cultivated.