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.
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 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.