Guyana has one of the highest proportions of forest cover in the world and a low deforestation rate. Over 80% of Guyana’s land area is covered by forests (approximately 1.6 million hectares), 40% of which are primary forests. The annual deforestation rate was 0.02% in the period 1990-2009, and increased to 0.08% in 2012 and 0.07% in 2014.
Drivers of deforestation and degradation
Mining is the largest driver of deforestation, accounting for more than 85% of the total. Other contributors to forest loss and degradation are logging, agricultural expansion, charcoal production and urban development.
To control deforestation and forest degradation, Guyana aims to:
- Strengthen forestry and mining regulations
- Improve forest management
- Expand the multiple uses of forests to promote alternative economic activities while reducing pressure on forests
- Improve land use planning and coordination
- Intensify agricultural production
- Consolidate and strengthen land and user rights
REDD+ actors and activities
The following institutions lead Guyana's REDD+ process in the context of its Green State Development Strategy, which builds on the successes of the Low Carbon Development Strategy and other national policy documents:
- The REDD+ Secretariat, within Guyana's Forestry Commission, is the key operational body, overseeing key technical aspects of REDD+
- The Ministry of Natural Resources is the Executing Agency of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility REDD+ Project
- The REDD+ National Working Group is a multistakeholder body, established to ensure transparency and lead the consultation process
- The National Toshaos Council ensures involvement and communication with Amerindian communities
The REDD+ process in Guyana operates in close collaboration with the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement process, with common areas of work such as land tenure, independent forest monitoring, and stakeholder representation and engagement. Guyana has also applied to become a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
In 2009, Norway agreed to provide Guyana with USD 250 million by 2015 for results achieved in limiting emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. So far, Norway has channelled more than USD 150 million through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund to finance projects under Guyana's Low Carbon Development Strategy.
Guyana is also a beneficiary of the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and a partner country of UN-REDD.
Status of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA)
In 2012, Guyana and the EU began negotiations towards a VPA to improve forest governance and ensure that only legal timber and timber products reach the EU market.
For more information, see the Guyana page on the EU FLEGT Facility's website.