The use of pigüe (Piptocoma discolor) by smallholders in Napo, Ecuador: sustainable management of a pioneer timber species for local livelihoods

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In the Ecuadorean Amazon, the tree species pigüe (Piptocoma discolor) provides important revenues to supplement rural household incomes in times of financial need. As a pioneer species that regenerates in disturbed forest and fallows, pigüe is well suited for sustainable management. Pigüe is mostly used to produce boxes to transport fruits and vegetables in the region, playing an important role in the marketing of agricultural produce. As an artisanal industry, the milling and fabrication of pigüe products is an important source of employment and income in some rural parts of Napo province. The availability of milling equipment and facilities is essential to the value chain associated with the processing of pigüe wood, which is easily produced by rural families without external inputs and assistance. The regulatory framework for species such as pigüe should be adjusted to facilitate production, given the species ecology that makes it abundant and resilient.

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