About 85% of Guyana’s land area is covered by forests. Guyana’s forests are rich in biodiversity and contain over a thousand different species of tree. Some of these trees, such as greenheart, wamara, purpleheart and mora, are harvested commercially. The forestry sector accounts for only a small percentage of GDP in Guyana. Since 2011, the forestry sector has accounted for less than 3% of GDP. However, forestry is an important sector in Guyana as it employs many people, especially in the interior. Also, timber is an important export.
Much of Guyana’s timber is exported to places such as China, the UK, the USA and other Caribbean countries. Georgetown is the main export port. Timber exports from Guyana were valued at US$26.5 million in 2021.
Logging operations in Guyana are highly regulated. The vast majority of Guyana’s forests are classified as state forests and are administered and managed by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), a government agency. Before timber is harvested, a concession must be obtained from the GFC. A concession outlines the particular area where timber is to be harvested over a specified period of time.
Timber is harvested using well planned reduced-impact logging practices. Trees are carefully selected before cutting and only a small percentage of trees is harvested from any particular area in order to conserve the forest. Trees are cut down in a manner which causes minimal damage to nearby trees.
After trees are cut down, they are dragged to roads and loaded onto trucks for transport. Some of these roads were built by logging companies. In some areas, timber is also transported by river. Most logging takes place in the northern and central regions of Guyana. The southern region of Guyana is not easily accessible.
Watch the video below about the timber industry in Guyana.
Sustainable Management of Tropical Forests
P. van der Hout – Sustainable Management of Tropical Rainforests – The CELOS Management System