What is the importance and social/environmental meaning of the gum leverage?
In the Mayan Forest—the second largest one in the American continent after Amazonian, the chicozapote is the most abundant tree, which produces the gum.
The chicozapote (Manilkara zapota) is native to the Atlantic forests of Nicaragua as well as the Gran Peten, which covers part of the Yucatan peninsula, Belize and Guatemala. It is the largest green forest in the American continent after the Amazonas. The zapote is one of the most common trees in these forests with a distribution of up to 30 units per hectare.
The most widely known and implemented solution to stop the destruction of tropical forests has been the creation of natural parks and reserve conservations. The more than 120 tree species in the Great Peten forest are only part of the cornucopia of raw materials offered by the forests. The Mayan natives know this potential and have used it for a long time; nowadays, when it comes to looking for a sustainable development, the new social stakeholders are in control of natural resources.
The distribution of the different tree species is not homogeneous within the Great Peten. In the Noh Bec ejido (land grant), for instance, the chicozapote tree represents 33 percent of the wood volume, and its strong domination is surely related to the protection of the species for the extraction of gum. The tzalam, which has reached a very high demand for the manufacturing of floors, represents 1.3 percent of the volume—a very similar figure to mahogany, which is the most important species from the commercial point of view.
Gum extraction is a very important and profitable activity for the people of the Great Peten. The chicleros have become rigorous guardians of the chicozapote tree and its ecological surroundings. Through the consumption of natural gum, they promote a sustainable extraction activity, which contributes to the preservation of forest that was once admired by the ancient Mayan civilization.
I want to actively participate in this change of consumer habits and go natural. I use social media to get in touch with my friends. I am part of the Chicza Tribe.
It is fascinating to see chewing gum makers, or Chicleros in the jungle. Their relationship with the chicozapote trees is an intimate and respectable one. It demonstrates that men and the environment can interact and sustain one another
Chicza is a 100% natural chewing gum. It is sustainably harvested from the chicozapote tree in the Mayan Forest. It is an organically certified and biodegradable gum, produced by a consortium of cooperatives under a fair trade scheme.