• Suriname

Legal framework for forest management and timber trade of Suriname

Forest governance

  • 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 (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.

Legal rights to harvest

  • 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.

Taxes and fees

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.

Timber harvesting activities

There are several types of permits for timber harvesting: including concessions, community forest, communal cutting licenses HKVs) and incidental cutting licenses (ICLs).

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. ICLincidental 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).

Third parties’ rights

  • 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 Scoial Management Framework (ESMF) aiming at strengthening senvironmental and social standards and impact management. Once in place, 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.

Trade and transport

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.