Working with INAFOR and local guides, Dvorak began combing Guatemala's rugged eastern mountains for the cones of tecunumanii.
Last June Guatemala's first freely elected civilian president in 30 years, Vinicio Cerezo, dismissed the entire Guatemalan forest service, The National Institute of Forestry (INAFOR).
One of the nation's two major conservative papers documented charges of corruption against INAFOR by quoting Rigoberta Menchu, a Mayan peasant radical.
In June a group of mayors from rural areas issued a statement saying that INAFOR's corrupt policies had turned the western mountains "into a virtual desert."
By stripping INAFOR and other forestry-related agencies of their autonomy, the president will be able to act unilaterally--assuming he wants to.
Launched in 2009, ALBA Forestal was supposed to collect and process trees felled by Hurricane Felix, a massive 2007 storm that, according to an INAFOR report, left some US$320 million worth of wood just lying about.