Gateway to international timbertrade

Guyana

Forest resources

Guyana has a total area of 21.5 million hectares of which the land area measures 19.7 million hectares while the remainder of the country area is taken up by its many rivers. According to FAO (2015), Guyana has around 16.5 million hectares of forested land constituting 84% of the total land area. According to the Guyana National Forest Policy Statement of 2018 (GoG, 2018), however, Guyana has around 18.4 million hectares1 of forested land, which constitutes to 87% of the country area or 93% of its land surface. The full extent of the 18.4 million hectares is primary or otherwise naturally regenerated forest. Guyana’s forests are classified as swamp and mangrove forest on the coast and rainforest, seasonal, dry evergreen, marsh and montane forest in the interior, and are part of the wider Guyana Shield rainforest eco-region.

86.2% of the forest area is under the management and control of the Government of Guyana; of which 12.2 million hectares (67%) are designated as State Forests2 and placed under the management of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC). The remaining 12.9% are designated as State Land under the remit of the Lands and Surveys Commission. The remainder are mainly privately owned, titled Amerindian Lands (13.8% ) and protected areas (6.0% ). Guyana has 5 protected areas which contain significant forest areas, including (1) Kaieteur National Park, (2) Iwokrama, of which approximately 180,000 hectares have been set aside for forest conservation, (3) Kanuku Mountains Protected Area, (4) Konashen, and (5) Shell Beach Protected Area, which includes mangrove forests.

Out of the 12.2 million hectares of State Forest 4.7 million hectares (38%) have been issued as timber concessions, of which 1.7 million hectares (13%) as large, long-term concessions, 2.0 million hectares (17%) as small, short-term concessions and 1.0 million hectares (8%) as exploratory permit with no active timber harvesting operations yet (GFC, 2018).

1 The most recent assessment by GFC (2019) indicates a forest area of 18.1 million hectares. This forest area update is based on remapping, using higher resolution 5 m resolution imagery and removal of shifting cultivation areas, which explains differences with earlier reports.

2 State Forest (production forest) covers 12.6 m ha, but includes 440k ha non-forest. In addition, there are 2.3 m ha State Lands that classify as forest - Leases (agricultural) on State Lands are issued by the Guyana Lands &Surveys Commission over areas within State Lands, while mining licences or permits are issued by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission over areas within State Lands - holders of an (agricultural) lease, mining licence or permit become Forest Sector Operators (FSO)s when authorised by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) to salvage timber within the boundaries of such areas.

Production and export

According to ITTO (2019), Guyana produced on average approximately 549,000 m3 of primary timber products between 2014 and 2018, which almost entirely originated from national forests. The country's timber exports are primarily based on the export of logs and to a smaller extent on the export of sawn wood. The total export value of primary timber products was around 65.2 million US dollars for the period 2014-2018 according to ITTO (2019).

The GFC has discontinued submitting production and trade data to ITTO since before 2014 and data reported by ITTO are based on estimates by ITTO (ITTO, 2019). According to the GFC Forest Sector Information Reports for the period 2014-2018, average production over this period was approximately 406,000 m³ per annum. According to GFC (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) the total value of log, sawnwood, roundwood, veneer and plywood exports averaged 40.4 million US dollars per annum. For details on volume see the table below. A slump in both production and export occurred since 2014; average production over the period 2016-2018 fell to 359,000 m³ and export to 112,000 m³. The export value decreased steadily from 51.5 million US dollars in 2014 to 33.3 million US dollars in 2018.

Timber harvesting is mainly carried out in the central and north-eastern parts of the  country since a lack of ready access and long distances to the market currently 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 main port of export in Georgetown. The two main modes are waterways and roads. However, the underdevelopment of the road infrastructure in the rural areas has caused timber exporters to rely on less expensive modes of transport including water transport. In a few cases, some operators have the benefits of roads built by mining concessions and Amerindian villages, but this is more the exception. The forest industry of Guyana consists mainly of logging and sawmilling operations. Export of logs is a significant part of the industry’s exports, although the national log export policy aims to stimulate more value-added activities in Guyana; e.g. by charging a progressively increasing rate of export commission (currently max. 20%) on targeted species that have been reflecting high volumes of export in log form. A full ban on log exports has recently been proposed for a number of species (Purpleheart, Locust, Crabwood, Red Cedar, Washiba, Letterwood and Snakewood) in the National Log Export Policy for the period 2016 to 2020. As can be observed from the graph below Guyanese timber is exported to many regions of the world, although logs are mainly exported to China and India while sawn wood and other processed products are exported to a much wider range of destinations.1

The forests of Guyana contain more than 1000 tree species; according to ITTO (2019) the main species exported over 2015-17 were, in descending order:

  • Wamara (Brown Ebony, Ironwood) (Swartzia leiocalycina) – logs and lumber
  • Purpleheart (Guarabu, Amarante, Purperhart) (Peltogyne venosa) - logs and lumber
  • Greenheart (Demerara greenheart) (Chlorocardium rodiei) – logs and lumber
  • Shibadan (Araracanga, Bois macaye, Kromantl Kopi) (Aspidosperma album) – logs and lumber
  • Mora (Pracuuba) (Mora excelsa) – logs and lumberKabukalli (Cupiúba, Goupie, Kopi) (Goupia glabra) – logs and lumber
  • Darina (Angelim, Makka Kabbes) (Hymenolobium flavum) – logs and lumber
  • Tatabu (Sucupira, Saint Martin gris, Zwarte Kabbes) (Diplotropis purpurea) – logs and lumber
  • Tonka Bean (Cumaru, Tonka) (Dipteryx odorata) – logs and lumber
  • Wamaradan (Angelique, Basralokus) (Dicorynia guianensis) – logs and lumber
  • Wallaba (Wapa, Bijlhout) (Eperua falcata & E. grandiflora)– poles and posts-

The Guyana Forestry Commission (2019) reports the following main exported species for 2019, in descending order: Wamara, Greenheart, Kabukalli, Wallaba, Purpleheart, Shibadan, Crabwood (Andiroba, krappa)(Carapa procera & C. guianensis), Mora and Tonka Bean.

In addition to these species there are other species which are of interest in the international market, such as:

  • Bulletwood (Massaranduba, bolletrie) (Manilkara bidentata), although harvesting of this species is allowed by special permission only.
  • Locust, (Jatoba, rode lokus) (Hymenaea courbaril), although for the export of this species special regulations apply.
  • Washiba (Ipé, groenhart) (Tabebuia serratifolia (new name: Handroanthus serratifolius))

1 According to the Guyana Forestry Commission, the USA formed 22% of the export market in value in 2019, followed by China with 18%, India with 7%, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Netherlands all with 5%, New Zealand and
Singapore with 4% and the UK with 3%.

Sources of information

Legality framework


Forest governance

The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has the statutory mandate to manage and regulate Guyana’s State Forests and is responsible for the issuing of state forest authorisations (large and small concessions), exploratory permits, removal and transportation documents, sawmill, timber dealers and lumber yard licenses, timber export certificates and for monitoring of forest legality and supply chains.

Social, fiscal and environmental aspects of forest governments are under the mandate of the Ministry of Social Protection, The National Insurance Board and the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs; the Revenue Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency, respectively.

Legal rights to harvest

The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) holds the management rights for all State Forests and issues authorisations to large and small concessionaires for the commercial harvesting of timber. Timber can also be legally sourced from Titled Amerindian Lands, Private Lands, and State Lands in conversion.

Large Concessions – Areas larger than 8097 hectares are categorised by the GFC as large concessions.  Forest operators of Large Concessions must have a State Forest Authorisation granted by the GFC. These State Forest Authorisations can be either a Forest Concession Agreement or an Exploratory Permit. Forest Concession Agreements can either be Timber Sales Agreements or Wood Cutting Leases, which are granted for up to 40 years or subject to conditional renewal.

These concession agreements apply to larger concessions and their requirements are different from those of smaller concessions. The applicants for harvesting permits of new larger concessions need to possess a precursor State Forest Exploratory Permit (SFEP), which is issued for undertaking exploratory operations such as forest inventories, environmental and social impact assessments and the preparation of management plans. These SFEP’s do not include full commercial harvesting rights, although limited harvesting is allowed. A TSA or WCL  is issued after approval of a specified set of documents, including a management plan and for a first concession agreement also a valid SFEP.

Small Concessions – Areas of 8097 hectares or less are categorised by the GFC as small concessions. Forest operators of Small Concessions must have a State Forest Authorisation that can either be a State Forest Permission or a Community Forest Management Agreement. These State Forest Authorisations are granted by the GFC for up to two years, subject to conditional renewal. 

Amerindian Villages – Section 2 of the Amerindian Act defines Village or Amerindian Village as “a group of Amerindians occupying or using Village lands” and Village lands as “lands owned communally by a Village” under an Absolute Grant or Certificate of Title granted to the Village Council (VC) to hold for the benefit of the Village. An Amerindian Village becomes a Forest Sector Operator (FSO) when it enters into a contract with the GFC to conduct commercial harvesting within the boundaries of the Amerindian Village.

Private Lands–Section 2 of the Forests Act 2009 defines Private Lands as “land that is neither public land nor village land”, and which are legally held by either an individual(s) or body corporate by Registered title, Transport or Absolute Grant. A private landowner becomes an FSO when it enters into a contract with the GFC to conduct commercial harvesting within the boundaries of the private land.

State Lands in Conversion - Timber products can be salvaged from State Lands that are approved by the relevant Ministries and Government Agencies to be converted to non-forest land uses under the following authorisations:

  1. Mining Licence or Permit - A Mining licence or permit is issued by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission over an area within State Lands to prospect, mine for, take and appropriate any minerals. A holder of a mining licence or permit becomes an FSO when authorised by the GFC to salvage timber products within the boundaries of that area.
  2. Leases- a lease is issued by the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission over an area within State Lands for the purposes of agriculture or other activities. A holder of a lease becomes an FSO when authorised by the GFC to salvage timber products within the boundaries of that area.
  3. Infrastructure (roads, hydropower plant, dams, etc.) - The Ministry of Presidency grants approval to construct hydropower plants while the Ministry of Public infrastructure grants authorisations to conduct all other infrastructural works, such as roads and bridges. A holder of an infrastructural approval becomes an FSO when authorised by the GFC to salvage timber products within the boundaries of that area.
Taxes and fees
  • Royalty payable per cubic metre extracted; different rates apply to four species classes
  • Annual area fee
  • Export commission on log exports; different rates for two schedules
  • Fees apply for various permits and applications
Timber harvesting activities

Holders of a TSA or WCL concession agreement need to prepare a 3-5 year Forest Management Plan (FMP) and Annual Operational Plan (AOP), which are reviewed by the GFC prior to harvesting. For the preparation of the 5-yr FMP a ‘management-level inventory’ (<1% sampling intensity) is required. For the preparation of the AOP TSA and WCL holders are required to submit 100% pre-harvest inventory information (stock maps and data sheets) for all blocks that are proposed to be harvested in the operational year along with the Annual Operational Plan. A 2.5% verification exercise of the Inventory Information is carried out by the GFC before final approval is granted. An approval letter to commence harvesting activities is prepared and sent to the company based on the recommendations of the verification exercise. Block approval letters are prepared after taking into consideration the Maximum Allowable Cut (MAC), which is the lower volume figure of the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) and the Inventoried Volume, specifying the blocks that may be harvested and the respective MAC for each individual block. The AAC is set at a maximum of 20 m³/ha for a 60 year cutting cycle or prorated as e.g. 8.33 m³/ha for a 25-year cycle. Block approval letters are forwarded to the relevant officers within the GFC to effect monitoring and for filing/reference purposes. Log tracking tag quota is also determined based on the MAC. An operator’s annual quota is calculated based on the MAC and equated to the number of standing trees which will yield the volume and the number of trees computed. This will indicate the number of tags to be issued. Each operator is recognized by a unique sequence of numbers assigned to that operation, while tags are issued in sequences to be used in particular blocks only in case of large concessions. The GFC defines log quota for small concessionaires depending on the size of their concession and previous harvesting records. No pre-harvest inventory or tagging of stumps is required for Amerindian Villages and private lands.

All timber must be tagged, including logs, lumber, piles, poles and posts. In the case where logs are converted in-forest (using a chainsaw or mobile mill) the removal and transport of lumber must be accompanied by a Removal Permit and tags are attached to batches of lumber originating from the source logs.

For forest harvesting and transport, monitoring is done at station level, at concession level and supplemented by random monitoring by the GFC’s Internal Audit Unit and supervisory staff. At all active large concessions, resident forest officers perform the function of ensuring that all monitoring and legality procedures are strictly complied with. In instances of breach, an investigation is conducted and, based on the outcome; action is instituted according to GFC’s standard procedures for illegal actions and procedural breaches.

Requirements that apply to the employer, for the benefit of workers; e.g. workers’ registration, contracts, Health & Safety requirements, PPE’s, training requirements, insurance, union are technically under the mandate of the Ministry of Social Protection and similar Ministries/Government Agencies. However, social requirements are treated in the Codes of Practice and are effectively monitored by GFC officers due to the lack of presence in the interior of the other Government Agencies/Ministries.

Third parties' rights

According to the Amerindian Act 2006, Amerindian people have traditional subsistence right or privilege in respect of any State Forest, which is owned legally or by custom by an Amerindian Village or Amerindian Community and which is exercised sustainably in accordance with the spiritual relationship which the Amerindian Village or Amerindian Community has with the land.

If the GFC intends to issue a permit, concession, licence, timber sales agreement or other permission in respect of any State forests which are contiguous with Village lands, the GFC shall first consider the impact on the Village.

Trade and transport

In order to remove timber products from a large or small concession a Removal Permit with associated production register is required. Amerindian Villages that are desirous to conduct commercial harvesting within the boundaries of the Titled Amerindian Village Land use a Private Property Removal Declaration to transport timber products instead of as Removal Permit. Secondary transport documents include: a) Transhipment Permit which is used to transport timber products from State forests for which royalties have been paid and for which the Removal Permit has been surrendered to the GFC; b) Trip Sheet which is used to transport forest products that may otherwise require several Removal Permits before the produce is declared on a Removal Permit for the payment of royalty; Trip Sheets must be issued in connection with a Removal Permit; c) Bill of Sale which may be used to transport timber products once royalties have been paid and the Removal Permit has been surrendered to the GFC; d) Clearance Pass which is a document used for the release/removal of confiscated forest produce/items once non-compliances regarding confiscated timber products have been resolved in order for the timber product to re-enter the supply chain.

All operational sawmilling, wood processing operations, lumberyards and timber dealers must be licensed annually by the GFC and hence will have to conform to the requirements for forest legality as established by the GFC. Relevant information on all timber products entering a sawmill or lumberyard must be recorded on a Sawmill/Lumberyard record of produce received/purchased/supply register  which must record the transport document type (e.g. Removal Permit, Private Property Declaration, Bill of Sale) and number, source, species, type of produce and volumes. Relevant information on all processed timber products must be recorded on a Return of lumber sawn and lumber produced Form or Return of log sawn and log produced Form. Sales of sawn lumber must be recorded on a Wood product sales Form and a monthly declaration must be made. A Bill of Sale must be issued to any buyer and the invoice number recorded on the Wood product sales Form.

Exporters seeking to export forest produce from Guyana must first apply to export forest products via completion of an “Application for Export of Forest Produce” form and a “Timber Marketing Certificate”. Timber products to be exported must be graded by a GFC licenced independent grader. Once the GFC is in receipt of the TMC application, and is informed that the produce has been graded, a GFC Grading Inspector does a 100 % verification of the grades assigned by the independent grader. Once the GFC Grading Inspector is satisfied that the forest produce meets the necessary quality standards, the TMC is then issued to the exporter, who then can apply for an Export Certificate. This EC is prepared by the Exporter and is for products already inspected and certified by the GFC. All exporters or their agents seeking to export goods must fill and submit a Customs Declaration, which is to be stamped by the GFC. Once the Exporter has paid an export commission, if payable,  to the GFC, the Exporter forwards all authorised documents (Customs declaration, Export certificate and Commercial invoice) to the Customs, Excise and Trade Operation unit of the Revenue Authority

CITES Certificate of Origin is required for the export logs, lumber or veneer sheets of Red (Spanish) Cedar (Cedrela odorata), which is listed on CITES Appendix III. Any person who proposes to import, export, re-export or introduce any CITES listed animal or plant or specimen from the sea shall before commencing any action related thereto, apply to the CITES Management Authority, the Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission, for a permit or certificate.

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.

Harvesting

Guyana Forestry Commission
Legally binding agreement authorising FSO to (a) enter and occupy a specified area of State forest; (b) cut and take a specified kind and quantity of forest produce in the area; (c) carry out other specified forest operations or carry out forest conservation operations in the concession area (d) carry out specified operations in any other area of State forest as necessary to facilitate the activities or operations specified in paragraph (a), (b), or (c). Sections 6 and 8 of the Forests Act 2009.
Guyana Forestry Commission
This letter demonstrates that the annual harvesting rights have been approved.
Block approval letter
Guyana Forestry Commission
Block approval letters are prepared after taking into consideration the Maximum Allowable Cut (MAC), which is the lower volume figure of the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) and the Inventoried Volume. Tags are issued based on the total MAC for the blocks to be harvested.
Guyana Forestry Commission
Transport document used to remove forest produce from State Forest areas; which can be of three types: Timbers Sales Agreement (TSA), Wood Cutting Lease (WCL) or State Forest Permission (SFP). It is the legal invoice document which the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) uses to collect royalty. SFP Removal Permit is also used for transporting forest products from State lands when areas are issued as Agriculture Leases and Mining Permits. Transport of logs to a log yard outside the concession prior to being transported to a point of sale and/or processing facility is regulated through Transhipment Permits.
Commercial Invoice
Prepared by selling party covering the specific batch.
Guyana Forestry Commission
This document is to be used to remove forest products from privately owned lands e.g. Amerindian reservations and titled lands.
Clearance Pass
Guyana Forestry Commission
This document is used for the release/removal of confiscated forest produce/items. It could also be used for transporting forest produce from privately owned lands; but only if the produce is verified by Officers of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and branded.
Guyana Forestry Commission
This document is used to facilitate the transporting of forest produce that has been assessed for royalty and the Removal Permit is surrendered to the Forest Station.
This document is issued along with a Removal Permit and is used to transport minor forest produce that may otherwise require several Removal Permits. It can also be used to remove major forest produce, when approved as a Divisional operational procedure in special cases; where some concessions will need several Removal Permits to transport major forest produce to a log market before the produce is declared on a Removal Permit for the payment of royalty. That is, it would therefore be practical to issue several Trip Sheets along with fewer Removal Permits. It must be noted that Trip Sheets must be issued in connection with a Removal Permit; and it is intended for use before the Removal Permit expires. Therefore, the Trip Sheet by itself is not a removal document, but rather, an accompanying document that links to a Removal Permit.
Bill of Sale
Seller
A Bill of Sale may be used to transport timber products once royalties have been paid and the Removal Permit has been surrendered to the GFC.

Processing and Trade

Sawmill license
Guyana Forestry Commission
Annual operating license for wood processing operations.
Timber Products Dealer or Lumberyard Licence
Guyana Forestry Commission
Annual operating license for timber dealers. Sawmill Licences automatically incorporate holders of Sawpit Licences and Timber Dealer Licences. Thus, there is no need for a sawmiller to apply for a Sawpit Licence or a Timber Dealers Licence, if all of his business is conducted on one site.
Sawmill/Lumberyard record of produce received/purchased/supply register for all timber products entering the sawmill/lumberyard
Guyana Forestry Commission
When timber products are enter a sawmill/lumberyard, relevant information in relation to the timber product are specified on the Sawmill/Lumberyard record of produce received/purchased/supply register which includes: - Month, - Name and address of facility - Licence number - Date of receipt - Date and number of transport document - Species - Quantity of timber product - Origin of timber product - Licence number of delivery vehicle - Name of supplier.
Return of lumber sawn and lumber produced Form or Return of logs sawn lumber produced Form or Monthly Lumberyard Return (Sawmill)
Guyana Forestry Commission
When timber products are processed, relevant information in relation to the timber product are specified on the Return of lumber sawn and lumber produced or Return of log sawn and lumber produce Form which includes: - Month - Name and address of facility – Species - Balance of logs from previous month - Log received (pieces and volume) - Total logs in stock - Input of logs processed (pieces and volume) - Output of lumber (pieces and volume) - Balance of logs remaining.
Monthly Lumberyard Return for all timber products processed at the lumberyard (Lumberyard)
Guyana Forestry Commission
When timber products are processed, relevant information in relation to the timber product are specified on the Monthly Lumberyard Return which includes: - Name and location of lumberyard - Species - Balance (volume) brought forward - Input volumes - Total volumes in stock - Output volumes - Balance volumes in stock.
Sale on the domestic market: Wood products sales Form
Guyana Forestry Commission
When timber products are exiting a processing facility, relevant information in relation to the timber product are specified on the Wood products sales Form which includes: - Month - Name and address of facility - Licence number - Date of sale - Product - Species - Quantity if timber product - Invoice number - GFC Tracking number (when applicable).
Bill of Sale
Seller
A Bill of Sale may be used to transport timber products once royalties have been paid and the Removal Permit has been surrendered to the GFC
Valid Primary Conversion Plant Annual Operating Licence (Sawmill, Plywood mill, etc.), Timber products Dealer’s, Lumberyard or Forest Concession Agreement
Guyana Forestry Commission
Annual operating license for harvesting, wood processing or timber trading operations
Guyana Forestry Commission
Exporters desirous of exporting forest produce from Guyana must first apply to export forest products via completion of an “Application for Export of Forest Produce” form and a “Timber Marketing Certificate” (TMC). Timber products to be exported must be graded by a GFC licenced independent grader. Once the GFC is in receipt of the TMC application, and is informed that the produce has been graded, a GFC Grading Inspector does a 100 % verification of the grades assigned by the independent grader. Once the GFC Grading Inspector is satisfied that the forest produce meets the necessary quality standards, the TMC is then issued to the exporter, who then can apply for an Export Certificate (EC). This EC is prepared by the Exporter and is for products already inspected and certified by the GFC.
Customs, Excise and Trade Operation (CETO) unit of the Revenue Authority
All exporters or their agents seeking to export goods must submit their Customs Declaration (Form C72), which is stamped by the GFC.
Commercial Invoice
Seller
Prepared by selling party covering the specific batch. The Commercial Invoice would state the commercial value and other pertinent details of the shipment
CITES Certificate of Origin
Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission
CITES listed species are specifically dealt with in the 1999 Species Protection Regulations which is subsidiary to the Environmental Protection Act of 1996. Any person who proposes to import, export, re-export or introduce any animal or plant or specimen from the sea specified in Schedule I, II, III or IV of the Act shall before commencing any action related thereto, apply to the Management Authority for a permit or certificate and such information or document, if any, as the Management Authority may require. The Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission is the CITES Management Authority in Guyana.
Timber Export Certificate submission
Guyana Forestry Commission
The GFC authorises (stamps) the export certificate, customs declaration and commercial invoice. Once the Exporter has paid an export commission to the GFC, based on the value of the produce, the Exporter forwards all authorised documents (Customs declaration, Export certificate and Commercial invoice) to the Customs, Excise and Trade Operation (CETO) unit of the Revenue Authority

Bans and quota

There are no specific bans or limitations on the export of timber from Guyana, although Guyana implemented a National Log Export Policy with the aim of dissuading the export of logs while encouraging added value manufacturing of forest products. The policy stipulates a differentiated scheme of export commission on log exports, based on species type (royalty class). It ensures that, except in special cases, only concessionaires will be allowed to export logs which must originate from concessions allocated to them. Progressively increasing rates of export commission (currently max. 20%) is in effect. A full ban on log exports has recently been proposed for a number of species (Purpleheart, Locust, Crabwood, Red Cedar, Washiba, Letterwood and Snakewood) in the National Log Export Policy for the period 2016 to 2020.

Cites and protected species

There are two tree species from Guyana listed on CITES Appendix II:

  • Brazilian rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora). The plant is one of the commercially important sources of oil. 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.
  • Bigleaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla). The CITES listing applies to logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets and plywood. Bigleaf mahogany does not occur naturally Guyana but there are a few planted specimens, mainly for ornamental purposes.

There is one tree species from Guyana listed in CITES Appendix III:

  • Red cedar (tradename: Spanish cedar) (Cedrela odorata). Exports of logs, lumber and veneer sheets of this species require a CITES Certificate of Origin.

Some special regulations apply for the following species:

  • Bulletwood, Massaranduba (Manilkara bidentata) is protected under the Forest Act for its value to Indigenous communities though permission is granted by the GFC on a case by case basis.
  • Crabwood (Carapa spp.) and Locust (Hymenaea spp.) are covered by special conditions for export either in log or rough sawn form as a means to give the local value-adding sector the first option to buy. In order to export in log or rough sawn form you need to advertise through the Government and if no local interest is shown at the price offered then exports are permitted at the price offered.

National action on timber legality

Guyana has made considerable efforts to address illegal logging and manage its forests sustainably. In 2000, Guyana introduced a log tracking system to verify the origin of forest products and control harvesting in state forests.

In 2009, the Government launched a Low Carbon Development Strategy that promotes economic development while combating climate change by avoiding deforestation. In 2011, Guyana published a national forest policy and national forest plan, which it revised in 2018. The new policy and plan moves away from valuing forests simply for their timber but treats them instead as a cornerstone of the national patrimony to be managed collectively. In 2016, Guyana ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change. In its nationally determined contribution, Guyana commits to sustainable forest management and forest monitoring. In 2018, Guyana launched the Green State Development Strategy with the objective to reorient Guyana’s economy towards a diversified, decarbonised and resource-efficient economy.

Guyana formally commenced negotiations with the European Union on the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT VPA) process in December 2012. The policy decision to commence negotiations on the FLEGT VPA was taken after a series of consultations with key internal and external stakeholders. Noteworthy is the fact that Guyana’s reasons for entering a VPA exceeds the provision of a greater market share in Europe, which the issuing of FLEGT licenses would create. Improved governance, improved systems of tracking and tracing timber and timber products, improving the country’s image as a producer of legal timber and improved product development and marketing are a few of the other main reasons. Guyana and the European Union (EU) initialled the FLEGT VPA in November 2018. The ratification process is on-going in EU and Guyana.

Under the VPA, Guyana will commit to develop a system for assuring the legality of its timber. As in all VPAs, the timber legality assurance system must have the following five components:

  1. Legality definition: The legality definition states the aspects of a VPA partner country’s law for which the timber legality assurance system evaluates compliance with, for purposes of FLEGT licensing.
  2. Supply chain controls: Supply chain controls ensure that timber products verified as legal remain legal throughout all processes associated with the supply chain. Supply chain controls also prevent verified legal products from being tainted by unverified products entering the supply chain.
  3. Verification of compliance: Verification of compliance involves checks that all the requirements of the VPA legality definition and supply chain controls have been met to ensure that timber products are legal.
  4. FLEGT licensing: A FLEGT licensing authority issues FLEGT licences to consignments of timber products that the verification mechanism has confirmed are legally compliant. FLEGT licensing cannot begin until a joint evaluation of the timber legality assurance system by Guyana and the EU confirms that the system works as described in the VPA (see Next steps).
  5. Independent audit: The independent audit regularly checks that all aspects of the legality assurance system work properly. An annex to the VPA provides terms of reference for the auditor. 

The VPA negotiation process has already helped to clarify legal and administrative requirements applicable to the forest sector. In 2018, for example, key pieces of legislation were updated, including the 2018 National Forest Policy Statement, and 2018 National Forest Plan. New Forest Regulations, replacing outdated regulations that had been in force since 1953, and the new Code of Practice for Forests Operations were both approved and published in the Official Gazette in 2018. This means that anyone seeking logging rights is now clear about the rules for applying, what to expect from the process and what they must do ensure they are acting within the law.

A number of capacity building and need assessment studies have been undertaken during the negotiation phase. Also, several projects under the FLEGT Facilitation Support Office and FAO EU FLEGT Programme have supported a number of capacity building projects in recent times. These projects have sought to create awareness on the FLEGT VPA and build capacities of the different stakeholders to engage in the FLEGT VPA process. Despite these efforts a lot more needs to be done to raise the capacity of the different stakeholders to meet requirements of the VPA, particularly for the Ministries and Government agencies.

Implementation of the VPA  involves work to further develop the timber legality assurance system described in the VPA so Guyana can issue verified legal timber products with FLEGT licences. The EU and Guyana will establish a joint implementation committee, called the Joint Monitoring and Review Committee, to oversee implementation of the VPA.

In 2019, in consultation with Guinean stakeholders and the EU, a draft Joint Implementation Framework outlining the activities, responsibilities and timeline to implement the VPA was developed. This draft Framework is scheduled to be adopted by the Parties at the first meeting of the pre-JMRC. 

VPA implementation will involve identifying and addressing possible gaps in the forest allocation process and in the legal framework, upgrading systems for tracking wood through the supply chain, improving procedures for verifying legal compliance, and supporting Guyana in developing approaches for ensuring that the traditional rights of Amerindian peoples are not impeded. It will also include establishment of independent audits, a complaints mechanism, and systems and procedures for making information on the forest sector publicly available.

With funding from the Forest Governance, Markets and Climate (FGMC) Programme of the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the European Forest Institute (EFI) embarked on an EFI Technical Assistance Project (EFITAP) in January 2020, supporting Guyana to kickstart Guyana’s forest governance reforms framed in the Guyana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). The projected outcomes of the EFITAP project are:

  • Outcome 1: Strengthened and more transparent legality control system designed/ being developed;
  • Outcome 2: Strengthened regulatory framework through harmonisation of the governing Acts and relevant procedures of TLAS agencies;
  • Outcome 3: Increased capacity of stakeholders to implement the legality control system;
  • Outcome 4: Increased Transparency in the forestry sector through the establishment of an information sharing mechanism;
  • Outcome 5: Outreach increased with key stakeholders in preparation for implementation; and
  • Outcome 6: Supporting the GRM to facilitate the channelling of Amerindian rights issues.

When a joint EU-Guyana evaluation concludes that the Guyanese timber legality assurance system is fully operational as described in the VPA, the Joint Monitoring and Review Committee can propose that Guyana begin to issue FLEGT licences. Once a decision is made to commence FLEGT licensing, the Parties will follow their respective internal processes, including legislative measures, such as amending the FLEGT Regulation on the EU side.

Once FLEGT licensing begins, a valid FLEGT licence must accompany all exports to the EU of Guyanese timber-based products listed in Annex I of the VPA. EU customs officials will deny entry to any products covered by the VPA that arrive without a valid FLEGT licence. Products outside the scope of the VPA will remain subject to the normal due diligence requirements of the EU Timber Regulation.

Third party certification

There has been a strong increase in FSC-certified forest operation in Guyana in recent years (FSC, 2020). In addition to the Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development, which covers 371,680 hectares and has been FSC FM/COC certified since October 2016, two FSC FM/COC group certificates have been issued. One group certificate, first issued in July 2018, with 5 group members covering 31,862 ha in total, which is managed by Specialized Timber Services Inc. The other one, first issued in February 2019, now including 3 group members covering 31,890 ha, is managed by McVantage of Guyana Inc.

There are also three FSC COC/CW certified organisations: Specialized Timber Services (STS) Inc. since June 2016, McVantage of Guyana Inc. since September 2016, and Parika Sawmills since January 2019 (COC only).

There is no PEFC-national standard; hence no PEFC certified forest operations or supply chains.

Sources of information

Contacts

Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC)
1 Water Street
Kingston
Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: +592 226 7271 4
The GFC is responsible for the administration and management of all State Forest land. The Commission develops and monitors standards for forest sector operations, develops and implements forest protection and conservation strategies, oversees forest research and provides support and guidance to forest education and training.
Forest Products Development & Marketing Council
17 Access Road
Kingston
Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: +592 223 5135 6
The lead organization in the marketing and promotion of Guyana’s forest products.
Shipping Association of Guyana (SAG)
10-11 Lombard St.
Werk-en-Rust, Demarara
Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: +592 226 2169
The Shipping Association of Guyana is a private organisation that represents its membership of terminal owners, shipping agents and ship owners, and, in general, the shipping industry in Guyana.
Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development (IIC)
77 High Street Kingston
Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: +592 225 1504
The IIC forest and research centre is a place to test sustainable forest management by managing the Iwokrama forest, a unique reserve of 371,000 hectares of rainforest.
Environmental Protection Agency
Ganges Street
Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: +592 225 5467 69
The EPA oversees the effective management, conservation, protection and improvement of the environment. It also requires that the Agency takes the necessary measures to ensure the prevention and control of pollution, assessment of the impact of economic development on the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources.
WWF - Guyana Office
285 Irving Street
Queenstown
Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: +592 223 7802
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is one of the world's largest conservation organizations and works with the private sector to drive conservation results.
Forest Products Association of Guyana
157 Waterloo Street
Cummingsburg
Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: +592 226 9848
fpasect@guyana.net.gy
The association is the main private sector body for forest concession holders.
Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association Ltd.
157 Waterloo Street
North Cummingsburg
Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: 592-223-7405 / 592-223-7406
This association covers the value-adding sector of the timber industry in Guyana
Forestry Training Centre Inc.
17 Access Road
Kingston
Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: +592 223 5061-62
Training institution on SFM in Guyana.
University of Guyana
Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
Turkeyen Campus
Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: +592 222 5423
Main tertiary training institution in Guyana.
Guyana School of Agriculture
Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara
Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: +592 220 2297
Technical training institution in agriculture and forestry in Guyana.

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