The Republic of Suriname lies on the North-Eastern Atlantic coast of South America, bordering with Guyana to the West, French Guyana to the East, and Brazil to the South. It has an area of 163,870 km2 and a population of just under 600,000. With more than 15.2 million ha of forest cover (93% of its total area) Suriname is one of the most forested countries in the world. Historical annual rates of deforestation are well below 0.1%, so the country is classified as a High Forest cover, Low Deforestation rate (HFLD) country.
Forests provide a wide range of environmental and social benefits, including income and food security for local communities, national income from logging and mining, and global environmental benefits such as climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation. Suriname’s forests act as a carbon sink, making it a carbon-negative country.
Suriname’s forests are part of the Amazon biome. At the regional level, Suriname is located within two of WWF's Global 200 eco-regions, which are considered significant for the conservation of global biodiversity. The country’s forests host significant levels of biodiversity, which can be attributed not only to this significant forest cover, but also to the large variety of habitats, temperatures, and relatively low population pressures to date. The IUCN Red List has recorded 83 vulnerable and endangered species in Suriname. To protect this rich biodiversity and the many ecosystem services provided by forests, Suriname has dedicated 13.5% of its total land area (2.3 million ha of which 1.9 million is covered with forest) to a national protection system to preserve forests and wetlands and is committed to maintaining its HFLD status by increasing efforts towards sustainable forest management (SFM).
More than half of the population lives in and around Paramaribo, the interior is sparsely inhabited. This low population density and the difficult access to the hinterland constitute major reasons for the low historic deforestation rates (0.02-0.05%) and the high remaining forest cover. However, despite its vast forest cover, Suriname is facing environmental challenges. Mining is considered the main reason for deforestation (73% of all deforestation is associated with mining activities), with forestry activities becoming second. Forestry has experienced rapid expansion in recent years, with annual timber production increasing from 150,000-250,000 m3 during 2000-2010 to a recorded 1,184,000 m3 in 2018. For the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to UNFCCC, the emissions from deforestation are also estimated to be three to four times higher in the 2016-2020 period than before 2015.
Unfortunately, the increase in timber extraction has taken place within the context of insufficient capacity to control and ensure that the Forest Management Act is followed. Much of the exploration has been done by Asian investors who export roundwood to countries with limited sustainability demands. While forestry itself is defined as forest degradation rather than deforestation in Suriname - since selective logging is taking place rather than clearcutting - forestry operations are now also causing deforestation due to new infrastructure such as roads and log landings, developed to make new forest areas accessible for exploitation.
Around 4.5 million ha of the natural forests are reserved for production purposes. 13,000 ha 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 are state owned. Although there is no formally established Permanent Forest Estate (PFE) in Suriname, all formally established protected and conservation areas have been established by explicit legal documents that provide strict guidelines for protection and use.
Timber harvesting areas are granted on the basis of explicit legal documents as well, providing information on demarcation as well as guidelines for management and use, the latter based on the (not-legally binding) national Code of Practice for SFM. In 2017, close to 1.7 million ha was allocated as logging concession (issued over 115 concessions) while a total of 0.8 million ha was issued under the title of community forest to 104 titleholders, both making up for over 90% of the total annual roundwood production.
Due to commonly used selective logging principles in Suriname and a low forest utilization level (an average of 10.1 m3 per ha), overall timber harvesting is well within the pre-defined limits of sustainability. However, significant increase of timber harvesting over recent years contributes to increased degradation of the remaining forest stand and forest cover loss due to associated infrastructure.
Production and export
Suriname has a large forest resource base that contains a growing stock of valuable hardwood timber. Out of a total of 4.5 million ha that has been designated as ‘production forest’ – the so-called forestry belt - a total area of 2.9 million ha (all types of licencing) is potentially affected by logging activities. Because of the combination of selective logging, a cutting cycle of 25 years and an average cutting volume of 10 m3/ha, the affected area may be close to 120,000 ha annually (2018).
According to SBB latest available data (2018) the total production was 1,084,000 m3 (r.e.) of which 550,790 m3 was exported for a total value of US$ 70 million. By far, most was exported as unprocessed logs: 531,867 m3, represented a total FOB value of US$ 63.9 million.
Timber harvesting is mainly concentrated in the middle and northern part of the country - the districts Brokopondo, Marowijne, Para and Sipaliwini - since a lack of ready access and long distances to the market make the commercial harvesting of the forests in the south economically less feasible.
Transport of logs and lumber to local markets or the main port (for export) in Paramaribo is either over land by trucks/trailers (65%) or over water (rivers, creeks, canals) using tugboats and pontoon boats (35%).
The forest industry of Suriname consists mainly of logging and (primary) sawmilling operations. In 2017, a total of 220 logging companies were registered, while 65 (primary) sawmills, 1 triplex factory and 75 wood processing companies (mainly for furniture, flooring and decking) were in operation. The overall installed capacity of sawmills is estimated to be about 750,000 m3 roundwood input per year of which only half has been used, leaving significant room for growth of local processing. Either for the domestic market or for export. Timber drying capacity is limited and estimated at less than 6,000 m3/yr.
Suriname’s timber is exported to many regions of the world, though mainly to Asia (Singapore, India and China). As there is no ban on the export of logs from Suriname, export of logs account for 96% of the total export volume.
Suriname has about 400 naturally occurring timber species. A difference is made between quality classes, whereby ‘A’ represents commercial species, ‘B’ represents potential commercial species and ‘C’ all non-commercial species, also including the protected species, of which harvesting requires an additional permit or is strictly forbidden.
Most harvested and traded 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 - Terminalia guyanensis
- Walaba, Wallaba - Eperua spp.
- Kimboto, Abiu, Chupon - Pradosia ptychandra
*) Historically, this species is on the SBB list of prohibited species, for which an additional permit is required.
While the species that are preferred both for domestic use or exports are similar, the volumes are not. Export markets show a clear preference for Basralocus, both logs and processed, accounting for 27%; Gronfolo comes next with 10% of the overall export volume.
Sources of information
- FAO (2015) FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015
- ITTO (2011) International Tropical Timber Organization: Status of Tropical Forest Management 2011; Technical Series No. 38; Suriname pg. 374-385
- ITTO (2019) International Tropical Timber Organization, Division of Trade and Industry: Biennial review and assessment of the world timber situation 2017-2018
- Republic of Suriname (2019) Cabinet of the President of the Republic of Suriname, Coordination Environment: Nationally Determined Contribution 2020 (Submitted December 2019 in fulfilment of obligations under the Paris Agreement on climate change)
- SBB (2011) Foundation for Forest Management and Production Control: Draft report ‘Code of Practice for SFM’; Praktijkrichtlijnen voor duurzame houtoogst in Suriname (in Dutch)
- SBB Suriname (2019) Foundation for Forest Management and Production Control; Forestry Economic Department: Surinaamse Bosbouwsector 2017; Sector analysis report 2017 (in Dutch)
- SBB Suriname (2019) Foundation for Forest Management and Production Control; Forestry Economic Department: Forestry Statistics 2018; Production, export and import of timber and timber products in 2018
- SBB Suriname (2019) Foundation for Forest Management and Production Control, Forestry Economic Department: Market Information Report of the Surinamese Timber Sector 2017-2018 Volume 7
- Unique forestry and land use GmbH (2016) National Institute for Environment and Development in Suriname (NIMOS) and the Foundation for Forest Management and Production control (SBB): Background study for REDD+ implementation: Multi-Perspective Analysis of Drivers of Deforestation, Forest Degradation and Barriers to REDD+ Activities
- R(O)GB (Ministerie van Ruimtelijke Ordening, Grond- en Bosbeheer / Ministry of Spacial Planning, Land- and Forest Management), especially the directorate of forestry, is the government body responsible for legislation and policy making, international cooperation and crosscutting collaboration.
- LBB (Lands Bosbeheer / National Forest Service) is a department under the Ministry of R(O)GB.
- SBB (Stichting voor Bosbeheer en Bostoezicht / Foundation for Forest Management and Production Control) is the implementing body of LBB, in charge of supervision and control of all timber exploitation, permits and export.
- LBB/NB (Division of Nature Conservation / Natuurbeheer) is another implementing division under LBB, in charge of the management of all protected areas and law enforcement.
- Forest Management Act (S.B. 1992, no. 80)
- Nature Protection Act (G.B. 1954 no. 26)
- Fauna Protection Act (G.B. 1954 no. 25)
- Hunting Decree (Jachtbesluit, 2002)
- Environmental Framework Act (S.B. 2020, no. 97)
After many years of intensive lobbying and public consultations the National Assembly (DNA) approved the National Environmental Framework Act (March 2020). Although much of the act needs to be detailed yet before becoming fully operational, ongoing, planned and future operations potentially impacting the country’s natural and social environment have to consider this Environmental Framework Act.
Although not formally endorsed by the government, Suriname has a Code of Practice for Sustainable Forest Management (2011). This code serves as a basis for all forest management and timber harvesting operations.
- Intensive versus extensive forest management
Timber harvesting that is based on an (1) overall management plan, (2) exploitation plan and (3) annual cutting plan (‘jaarkapplan’) is called intensive forest management.
Till mid 2019, for timber harvesting from community forests or based on so-called HKV licenses (houtkapvergunning) for the purpose of tribal people living in hinterland villages, small scale and for a short period, timber harvesting and permitting was based on simplified exploitation and cutting plan, the so called extensive forest management procedures. Also, for short term concessions (< 5000 ha) extensive forest management rules could be applied. With the introduction of a new forest monitoring system (SFISS; see ‘Timber Legality’) timber harvesting is only on the basis of intensive management procedures now. Since the introduction of SFISS no harvesting permits based on extensive management are issued.
- Exploration and harvesting licenses (Exploratie- en Houtkapvergunningen)
Before the company applies for a concession, an exploration license (Exploratievergunning) is required which gives the license holder the unique right to explore a given area, based on a 1% inventory of harvestable species.
Based on the exploration results and once the concession is granted, regardless the level of timber harvesting, the concession holder pays an annual area fee (per ha.)
The cutting register (kapregister) is a monitoring tool to register timber harvesting. It is used (by SBB) to determine the height of the retribution (stumpage fee, paid per m3 of extracted timber) and as a tool to check the ongoing exploitation activities. During timber harvesting, a cutting register should be made in triplicate by the concessionaire or logging company and handed over to the forest guard (SBB) for verification. Cutting registers are uploaded into the SBB-database (LogPro).
All applicable forest fees are collected by SBB.
There are several types of permits for timber harvesting: including concessions, community forest, communal cutting licenses HKVs) and incidental cutting licenses (ICLs).
- Forest concessions. Forest concessions are issued to concessionaires that thus hold the rights to harvest and transport timber from a specified area. Concessions vary both in size and duration and can be extended once for the same duration as the concessions have initially 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 150,000 hectares for a period of 10 to 20 years. Application for concessions over 5,000 ha 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 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 in combination with a 25 year cutting cycle), 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).
- Community Forests and Communal Wood Cutting Permits (HKV – houtkapvergunningen). In the past HKV’s were allocated by law to the chief of the community (Granman, Kapitein) and were originally issued to communities for their own use. At present, HKVs 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.
- ICL incidental cutting licenses ICLs 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).
- As part of the World Bank Group (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), signed in 2015 with the World Bank, Suriname has prepared an Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) aiming at strengthening environmental and social standards and impact management. Once in place, the ESMF may support the third-party interests in (new) small and medium size enterprise (SME) development.
- Suriname is engaged in its REDD+ readiness phase, designing national strategies and action plans, building the capacity to implement REDD+ and working on REDD+ related policies and measures. All these project activities are implemented in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including an operational framework for FPIC and safeguarding the interests of tribal and indigenous people.
After felling, the stump of the felled tree shall be marked with the unique tree number which has been attributed during the 100% inventory, enabling to track the origin of the logs. Before the logs are removed, all marketable parts and their sizes shall be registered in the cutting register. Before transportation all (parts of) logs shall be marked with SBB tags with unique SBB registration numbers, clearly visible at one of the log-ends, 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 required to transport (parts of) 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 Trade, Industry & Tourism (Ministerie van Handel,Industrie & Toerisme); (2) be registered at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kamer van Koophandel en Fabrieken – KKF); (3) have an export number, specifically for roundwood; and (4) have a tax number (belastingnummer), 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). During the examination, the minimum FOB-value, the quality, species, volume and dimensions is documented.
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 Initiative).
Processing and Trade
Bans and quota
No export bans or quota other than CITES and by law protected species, mentioned below.
Cites and protected species
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) a 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.
Timber Tracking - LogPro and SFISS
Since 2000, Suriname has a computerized log-tracking system, known as LogPro. Now, after 20 years - allowing for a period of transition - during 2019-2020 LogPro will gradually be replaced by a new system for forest monitoring and production control: the Sustainable Forest management Information System Suriname (SFISS). Although the procedures, registrations and the labelling of logs are similar to LogPro, SFISS if fully web-based and all users are able to upload the required information for permitting (by SBB) themselves.
Together with the introduction of SFISS, two major changes were introduces in support of the transition from LogPro to SFISS: (1) logging operations based on extensive are completely banned now, and (2) the annual cutting plan may be based on the inventory of commercial timber species only, no full 100% inventory is required anymore.
Logging and Transport
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 inventory and indicated on the tree map (included in the by SBB approved harvest / cutting plan), must be entered by the concessionaire in a cutting register (kapregister). 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 cutting 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. In SFISS concessionaires can now upload these required data and document by themselves. 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 / SFISS.
Third party certification
The number of forest companies with a valid FSC-FM certificate in Suriname is reduced from four (2016) to one at present (May 2020). As a result, the total certified forest area is reduced from 386,200 ha. to 21,720 ha.
Suriname has no national standard, certifying bodies use a locally adapted standard.
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. Rainforest Alliance has carried out VLC verifications in Suriname in the past, but currently no VLC-active clients are listed for Suriname.
Sources of information
- FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015
- ITTO (2011) Status of tropical forest management 2011
- ITTO Biennial review of the world timber situation 2017-2018
- SBB Forestry sector status reports
- SBB Forestry Statistics
- SBB Code of Practice Harvesting Suriname
- SBB SFISS
- FSC – facts & figures
- REDD+ Suriname
Prof. W.J.A. Kernkampweg 37
Tel: +597 530313
Source: Transparancy International