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"FCSFP has been building capacity directly in marketing and utilization, and indirectly in forest restoration. It's an indirect link. We in the Four Corner's did not go out . . . generally, we did not go out and fund restoration. But we indirectly encouraged and supported progress and implementation of forest restoration by creating some markets for the products that come from those treatments. And by, I think, contributing to the evolution of public perception. You know, by getting those small businesses in there with community support, so that people were more supportive of cutting trees and restoring the forest."

-Al Hendricks, Arizona Department of Fire and Aviation Management, April 28, 2004


Even though small business is considered the foundation of community-based forestry, small individual businesses struggle to get an economic foothold. A couple of years into the FCSFP development, it was thought that marketing could help; however, many rural community people lacked the resources, skills, and funding to include marketing in their whole effort. So the FCSFP steering committee contracted with a consultant to assist businesses in developing brand identification. The degree to which this was accomplished was mostly remedial and introductory, but still welcomed as another tool available to grantees who could benefit. As a capacity-building method, marketing continues to be considered important overall, although secondary to product and service development and business retention.

Rustic Style Furniture in Dolores, Colorado received a demonstration grant to improve marketing. They utilize aspen mainly, little small-diameter pine; but serve as a model example of a small business effectively practicing stewardship principles.

The results of supporting product development were mixed according to some. "So much goes into product development," said Tim Reader, Colorado State Forest Service. " Four Corners realized that it's too hard to develop new products when the industry was failing." Early on, the focus turned towards trying to retain the existing industry and adding value to traditional products, such as dip-diffusion treatment of posts and poles.

Buying equipment helped in the manufacturing of products, but it also had mixed results. While the jury is still out on the effects of equipment purchases, industry people have stressed that they need equipment. Small-business development consultants were saying equipment purchasing should be the last concern.

The FCSFP-related operators have come in a spectrum of approaches to this issue. For example, StonerTop Lumber in Dolores , Colorado bought a tub grinder ("Rotochopper") to chip small-diameter timber into shavings for playgrounds, but they have not been able to develop playground-safe chips. They did not conduct the marketing surveys before buying the grinder (Dunmire, Carolyn. Undated. StonerTop Lumber and the Rotochopper: Turning Waste Wood into Value-added Products, a marketing report). The animal bed shavings manufacturing business, SBS, Inc. in the Ruidoso, New Mexico area, took a more systematic approach to their innovation in partnership interaction and new product development, manufacturing and marketing. They did the extensive research before investing in equipment.

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