Gateway to international timbertrade


Forest resources

According to the FAO (2015) Suriname has around 15.3 million hectares of forested land, which constitutes to 95.4% of the total land area. Almost the full extent of the 15.3 million hectares are primary forests. Over 5 million hectares of the natural forests are used for production purposes (ITTO, data 2010). 13 thousand hectares consist of plantations, about half of it with introduced species, mainly established in the period 1954-1977, with both pine and broadleaf species. Almost all forests (99%) are publicly owned.

Although the forest loss is low (0,04% per year over the last 25 years), and Suriname does not face the population and migration pressures that lead to deforestation in many other countries, there are potential developments that are expected to lead to forest loss in the longer term, such as the expansion of sugar cane plantations for bio energy projects, gold mining, palm oil production and infrastructure. A north – south running road is planned from the Atjonie area to the Border of Brazil.

Suriname’s natural forests include tropical rainforest, seasonal forests, marsh forest and mountain forest, and are part of the wider Guyana Shield rainforest eco-region (TFT). There is no formally established PFE (Permanent Forest Estate) in Suriname. Nevertheless, all formally established nature reserves and other protected and conservation areas have been established by explicit legal documents that provide strict guidelines for protection and use. It is estimated that over 2 million hectares have a protected status. Concession areas are also allocated on the basis of explicit legal documents that provide information on boundaries as well as guidelines for their management and use. (ITTO, 2011).

Due to widely used selective logging methods in Suriname and a low forest utilization level (an average of 7 m3 per ha), it is not necessary to do artificial generation (forest planting) within the production forest.

Production and export

Suriname has a large forest resource base that contains a growing stock of valuable hardwood timber (ITTO, website). The forest utilization is very low (an average of 7 m3 per ha), and the rehabilitation of the logged areas are based on natural regeneration. FAO gives an estimation of the area yearly affected by logging, 80 thousand hectares.

According to SBB (report 2014), the total production was 492 thousand m3 (roundwood equivalent), of which one third, almost 170 thousand m3 was exported (mainly as Roundwood, but also some sawn wood), for a total amount of 27 million US dollar. ITTO's (2015) estimations are slightly higher, with a production quantity of 450 thousand m3 and export of 212 thousand m3, as we see in the table below. Suriname’s ambition is to realise a growth in terms of production to 1 million m3 in 2020.

The timber harvesting is mainly done in the middle and northern part of the country, in the districts of Brokopondo, Marowijne, Para, Sipaliwini, since a lack of ready access and long distances to the market make the commercial harvesting of the forests in the south economically infeasible.

There are several different modes of transporting timber and timber products to the market opportunities or main port of export in Paramaribo: over land with trucks/ trailers or over water (rivers, creeks, canals) using ‘pontons’.

The forest industries of Suriname consists mainly of logging and sawmilling operations. According to the Forestry Business Analysis Report of SBB over 2013 Suriname then had 201 forest companies, 76 sawmills, 1 triplex factory and about 92 processing companies, such as furniture and manufacturing companies. The installed processing capacity of sawmills is estimated to be about 850 000 m3 roundwood input per year.

As can be observed from the graph below Suriname’s timber is exported to many regions of the world, though mainly to China and India. There is no ban on export of logs in Suriname, and export of logs makes out a significant part of the industry’s exports.

Revenues from export of timber and timber products in 2014 were almost US$ 28 million. (SBB). Trade on the domestic market was estimated to represent a value about 45-50 million US dollar. Timber harvesting and processing contributes for about 1% to the Gross Domestic Product.

Suriname has about 400 naturally occurring timber species. A difference is made between quality classes A, B and C. A represents commercial species, B represents potential commercial species and C contains protected species, of which harvesting is forbidden.

According to SBB, the most harvested species, in terms of volume, are:

  • Gronfolo, Mandio, Quaruba (Qualea rosea)
  • Basralocus, Angelique (Dicorynia guianensis)
  • Kopi, Cupiuba, Kabukalli (Goupia glabra)
  • Bruinhart, Wacapou (Vouacapoua americana)
  • Purperhart, Amarante (Peltogyne paniculata)
  • Bolletrie, Macaranduba (Manilkara bidentata) *
  • Wana, Louro vermelho (Ocotea rubra)
  • Maka-kabbes, Angelim da mata (Hymenolobium flavum)
  • Gindya-udu, Nargusta, Fukadi (erminalia guyanensis)
  • Walaba, Wallaba (Eperua spp.)
  • Kimboto, Abiu, Chupon (Pradosia ptychandra)

*) this species is on the SBB list of prohibited species (Category. C), for which an additional permit is required

Legality framework

Forest governance

The Ministry of physical planning, land and forestry management (Ministerie van Ruimtelijke Ordening, Grond- en Bosbeheer - RGB), especially the directorate of forestry, is the government body responsible for the enforcements of laws, such as the Forestry law  (S.B. 1992, no. 80), Nature Protection law (G.B. 1954 no. 26), Fauna protection law (G.B. 1954 no. 25) and hunting decree (Jachtbesluit, 2002). LBB (Lands Bosbeheer – National Forest Service) is a department of the Ministry of RGB and the ‘Stichting voor Bosbeheer en Bostoezicht’ (SBB) is the implementing body of the state forest agency, and in charge of supervision on timber exploitation, permits and export. NB (Natuurbeheer) is another department under LBB, in charge of Nature Conservation (protected areas).

Legal rights to harvest

Intensive versus extensive forest management

Timber harvesting based on an overall management plan, exploitation plan and an annual cutting plan (‘jaarkapplan’) is called intensive forest management. If timber harvesting is done in community forests or based on HKV (houtkapvergunningen – harvesting licenses) for the purpose of tribal people living in villages, small scale and for a short period, it is possible to carry out harvesting activities according to the procedures for extensive forest management. This is a type of management where harvesting is done according to a simplified exploitation and cutting plan. Also for short term concessions (< 5000 ha) extensive management and harvesting can be applied in the initial phase.

Exploration and harvesting licences  (Exploratie- en Houtkapvergunningen)

Before the company applies for a concession, an exploration of the area is necessary and cost effective. An exploration licence (Exploratievergunning) is required and gives the licence holder the unique right to explore a given area, based on a 1% inventory of species harvestable species.

Taxes and fees

The cutting register (kapregister) is a monitoring mechanism used to register timber harvesting. It is used to determine the height of the retribution (paid per m3 of extracted timber) and as a tool to check the ongoing exploitation activities. On the day of harvesting, a cutting register should be made in triplicate by the concessionaire or timber exploiting company, and handed over to the state forester for verification. Cutting registers are imported into the SBB-database (LogPro).

Timber harvesting activities

There are several systems for timber harvesting, including concessions, community forest and communal cutting licences and incidental cutting licences (ICL’s).

  1. Forest concessions. Forest concessions are issued to concessionaires that hold the rights to harvest and transport timber. These vary in size and duration – they can be extended once for the same duration as the concessions have been granted- and include: (1) Short term: issued for concessions of less than 5 000 hectares for a period of 1 to 5 years; (2) Medium term: issued for concessions between 5 000 and 50 000 hectares for a period of 5 to 10 years; and (3) Long term: issued for concessions of between 50 000 and 15 000 hectares for a period of 10 to 20 years. Application for concessions larger than 5000 hectare must include a business plan (including a forest management plan) that sets out the intended approach of the applicant for the development of the concession. Within 6 months after the granting of the concession and before any actual harvesting, a more detailed overall Exploitation plan must be submitted to SBB, indicating the division of annual cutting areas and the infrastructure to be built. In addition, specific planning is required for each annual cutting area (jaar-kapplan), including 100% inventories and detailed layout of skidding roads, taking into account the maximum allowable cut as suggested by the Celos Management System (normally 20-25 m3 / hectare), and the selection and marking of the trees to be felled (in the field as well as on tree maps to be included in the planning documents for submission to SBB for approval).
  2. Community Forests and Communal Wood Cutting Permits (HKV – houtkapvergunningen). In the past HKV’s were allocated by law to the foreman of the community (Granman, Kapitein) and were originally issued to villages for their own use. Currently new HKV’s are not provided anymore. Nowadays a community can apply for a Wood Cutting Permit, allocated to the community (that had to establish a foundation or other type of corporation). If commercial logging is undertaken in these areas the requirements for forest concessions must be followed.
  3. ICL incidental cutting licences ICL’s are restricted to salvage logging areas and conversion forests, which should be felled entirely in a single operation. No concession fees are paid but other charges apply based on the cutting register (kapregister).
Third parties' rights
Trade and transport

Right after felling, the stump of the felled tree shall be marked with a tree number which has been attributed during the 100% inventory, enabling to track the origin of the logs. Before the logs are removed, all usable parts and their sizes shall be registered in the cutting register. In case the concessionaire did not have an annual cutting plan, the tree stump should be marked with unique number, preceded by the initials of the concessionaire or other unique character. After extraction the logs shall be marked with label numbers, clearly visible at one of the ends of the log, corresponding with the tree details as mentioned in the cutting register. A Vervoerbiljet (Way bill)  is a document that is prepared by the timber transporter or concession owner (in fourfold) and is necessary to transport the logs from the forest. The purpose of such a way bill is to: (1) Register the origin of products; (2) Protect state property; (3) Protect and secure properties of concessionaires; and (4) Register transported products.

In order to export timber, the company shall be in the possession of an Exportvergunning (export license), and (1) be registered at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Ministerie van Handel en Industrie); (2) be registered at the Chambre of Commerce and Industry (Kamer van Koophandel en Fabrieken – KKF); (3) have an export number, specifically for roundwood; and (4) have a tax number (belastingvastnummer), also specifically for roundwood.

Two weeks before shipment, the exporting company has to apply for a check and examination of the timber to be exported, at SBB’s department of production control (afdeling Productie Controle van de SBB), in order to guarantee the quality. During the examination the minimum FOB-value (Free On Board), the quality, species, volume and assortment is determined.

Key documents

The below listed key documents are based on the applicable legislation and are considered to play a key role in demonstrating legal origin. An overview of applicable legislation and its scope is accessible here (Forest Legality Alliance).


Exploration Licence
Gives the licence holder the unique right to explore a given area, based on a 1% inventory of harvestable species. Meant to do a pre-scoping of the area before the company applies for a concession.
Harvesting licences (different types): • Concessions • Community Forests and Communal Wood Cutting Permits • Incidental Cutting Licences (ICL)
• Concession rights, according to size and duration for short, medium and long term. • Harvesting licences for forest communities’ own use. • ICL’s are restricted to salvage logging areas and conversion forests.
Annual cutting plan (jaar kapplan)
Made by company, approved by SBB
Annual cutting plan or harvest plan, based on Forest management plan (including 100 % inventories, and detailed layout of skidding roads, taking into account the maximum allowable cut, selection of trees to be felled, and maps). The concessionaire sends this plan to SBB for approval. An approved cutting plan forms the basis of production control by SBB.
A cutting register is a format that shall be filled out by the concessionaire or timber exploiting company, for each tree or log.
Retribution receipt
SBB – tax directorate
Proof of payment of retribution tax, to be paid on extracted timber.
Signed by concessionaire and transporter. To be approved by the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Land and Forest Management
The way bill is a document for the timber harvesting company to declare the extraction of timber from the concession. Its purpose is to register the origin of products. The timber extracting company (transporter) has to report to each SBB sign post they pass. SBB officials check whether the transported logs correspond with the way bill.

Processing and Trade

Registration Ministerie van Handel en Industrie
Ministry of Trade and Industry
Document that demonstrates registration at the Ministry of Trade and Industry
Registration KKF
Document that demonstrates registration at the Chamber of Commerce
SBB – dept. of production Control
Exporting company has to apply for a check and examination of the timber to be exported. During the examination the minimum FOB-value (Free On Board), the quality, species, volume and assortment is determined. Examination fees apply.
Exportvergunning (Export license)
Export license per shipment for the export of roundwood, unprocessed and raw processed wood, implying tax payment for export (20% - 5% depending on the degree of processing).

Bans and quota

No export bans or quota other than CITES and by law protected species, mentioned below.

Cites and protected spieces

There is only one tree species from Suriname listed on CITES Appendix II:

  • Brazilian rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora). The CITES listing applies to logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets, plywood and extracts. Finished products containing such extracts as ingredients, including fragrances, are not considered to be covered by this annotation.

Additionally, some species are protected by Suriname’s government. These are the species in Category C, of which harvesting is forbidden. In case of Bolletrie (Manilkara bidentata) an extra permit needs to be granted by SBB:

  • Massaranduba, Bulletwood, Bortrie, Bolletrie (Manilkara bidentata)
  • Copaiba, Upru-udu, Hoepelhout, (Copaifera guianensis)
  • Brazil nut, Inginoto (Bertholletia excelsa)
  • Ginger gale, Manrowsudu, Man rozenhout (Aniba mas, Aniba panurensis)
  • Brazilian rosewood, Rowsudu, Rozenhout (Aniba rosaeodora)
  • Sawari nut, Sawari(noto) (Caryocar nuciferum)
  • Cumaru, Tonka (Dipteryx odorata, Dipteryx punctata)

National action on timber legality

Suriname is not a VPA country.


Suriname has a computerized log-tracking system, known as LogPro. The trees actually cut are labelled with a polyethylene label with a unique number that is issued by SBB. These label numbers, together with the tree number as assigned in the 100% inventory and indicated on the tree map (included in the approved harvest / cutting plan), must be entered in a cutting register (kapregister), as prescribed by law. The label numbers are thus linked to the tree numbers of the inventory. When the logs are prepared for transport from the production site, their label numbers are entered in a way bill (vervoersbiljet). A copy of the felling register must be presented to the forest guard covering the particular production area, who forwards it to SBB headquarters, where it is entered into LogPro. Systematic inspections of sawmills and other processing facilities are also conducted to ensure that any timber not seen during earlier inspections is detected, registered, and entered into LogPro.

Third party certification


4 forest companies in Suriname are currently FSC-certified for Forest Management. The total certified area is 386 200 ha. Suriname has no national standard, and therefore certifying bodies use a locally adapted standard.


Rainforest Alliance has carried out VLC verifications for three companies in Suriname. Verification of Legal Compliance ensures that the administrative requirements of permitting, planning, taxes or fees, and harvesting, as well as a broad range of applicable and relevant laws and regulations related to forestry, have been met.


Ministerie van Ruimtelijke Ordening, Grond- en Bosbeheer (RGB)
Paramaribo, Suriname
Ministry of physical planning, land and forestry management.
Dienst 's Lands Bosbeheer (LBB)
Cornelis Jongbawstraat # 10 - 12
Paramaribo, Suriname
Tel: +597 470700
Tel: +597 479431
State Forest Service - responsible for the enforcement of the Forest Management Act and the management of production forests.
Stichting voor Bosbeheer en Bostoezicht (SBB)
Paramaribo, Suriname
SBB is a semi-autonomous foundation, under the Ministry of RGB, seen as the implementing body of LBB and in charge of the supervision and control on timber exploitation and transport.
Dienst 's Lands Bosbeheer (LBB)
Nature Conservation Department (LBB-NB)
Cornelis Jongbawstraat # 10 - 12
Paramaribo, Suriname
Tel: +597 470700
Responsible for the enforcement of the Nature Conservation Act (1954) and the Game Act (1954) and the management of nature reserves and other protected areas.
Platform Houtsector Suriname (PHS)
Platform for the Private Timber Sector in Suriname. The Secretariat of the Timber Sector Platform Suriname is based in Paramaribo, Suriname, at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKF).
Kamer van Koophandel en Fabrieken (KKF)
KKF Beursterrein
Prof. W.J.A. Kernkampweg 37
Tel: +597 530311
Tel: +597 530313
Chamber of Commerce and Industry
WWF- Guianas
Regional Office Suriname
Henck Arronstraat 63 Suite E
Paramaribo, Suriname
Tel: +597 422 357
Tropenbos international
Prof.Dr. Ruinardlaan (CELOS Building)
P.O.Box 4194
Paramaribo, Suriname
Tel: +597 532 001
An international NGO, running a programme of research, capacity building and institutional development in Suriname.
Environmental Services and Support (ESS)
P.O.Box 2240
Paramaribo, Suriname
Tel: +597 8187815
Consultancy firm, implementing studies, developing policies, plans and projects in relation to the use and conservation of biological resources, including forestry.


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