• Guyana

Other indicators for legal timber trade of Guyana

Corruption Perception Index



A country's score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Source: Transparency International


Bans & 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.