History

Mahogany and cacao stand

IAF Mahogany and cacao stand

IAF’s founders, the Bronson-Diaz family, have worked in the Lake Izabal basin for over four decades.  The original farm, deforested in the 1960‘s for its natural abundance of genuine mahogany and other precious hardwoods, was purchased as a cattle ranch by the Diaz family.  Managed as such for the first few years, in 1989 IAF started establishing its first production forests.  Initial plantations consisted of rubber, and teak.  Later through many years of experimentation, paying close-attention to soil conditions and indicative growth patterns its founders decided to focus its efforts on the establishment of native species hardwoods.  These trees, adapted over millennia to local conditions, demonstrate impressive growth in a plantation setting.  Since 1992 IAF has planted and managed threatened species like Rosewood, Mahogany, Tropical Cedar and Zebrawood.   Today the family is considered Central America’s premiere grower of true ‘Genuine Mahogany’, having developed specific silviculture techniques to successfully control the bifurcating shoot-borer.  Trees are pruned and fertilized using independently developed silviculture regimes that stimulate fast growth, straight trunks, and optimal volume per hectare.

In recent years the project has adopted agroforestry science into its model, essentially double cropping the land with aromatic cacao.  Clones have been specially selected by family friend and chocolatier John Scharffenberger. These cacaos are in increasingly short supply with few new plantings on the horizon.

In 2003 the plantation received the Guatemalan National Forestry Institute Award for the best hardwood plantation.  And 2007 the plantations received FSC “smartwood” certification.  In 2014 it was recognized by the ITTO as one of the best plantations on Guatemala.

The plantation is regularly visited by university students and industry professionals.

Our company believes in sustainable forest management.  We want to create and manage high value plantations that conserve and protect threatened species while benefiting the people and environment with whom we operate.