… 50 new forest rangers recruited
Monitoring and compliance within forestry concessions will continue to be a priority in 2009 with 50 new forest rangers being recruited, Minister of Agriculture with responsibility for Forestry, Robert Persaud, told the National Assembly on Thursday.
Each large concession will have a minimum of two officers to monitor harvesting activities, he said when he participated in the Budget Debate 2009.
Persaud told Parliament that there have been discussions with the Brazilian Government for assistance to conduct satellite monitoring of Guyana’s forestry resources to reduce the occurrence of illegally traded timber.
He noted that the introduction of a computerised log-tracking system and remote sensing will be completed in 2009.
According to the Agriculture Minister, funding was secured in June 2008 from the International Tropical Timber Organisation for a project on value adding and kiln drying targeting small and medium-sized operators, and this will be implemented during this year.
“Community forestry will continue to be a major project area, both in terms of the coordination of Community Forest Organisations and through the provision of technical support.”
Community extension activities, including capacity building, forest planning and management, were conducted in several communities with the active participation of community members, Persaud said.
At the end of last year, he added, there were 25 established and fully functional Community Forestry Associations, which were allocated a total of 192,235 hectares from the State Forest Estate.
The Minister also noted that work will continue assiduously during this year with like-minded countries for a new post-Kyoto agreement.
This will provide for the provision of positive market-based incentives for standing forest and avoided deforestation to be submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, he said.
“Guyana will also continue partnering with the international community to do baseline studies, which will take us to a state of ‘readiness’, and this will allow for better negotiation of compensation, incentives and other benefits which will accrue to the Guyanese people, especially the indigenous and other hinterland residents,” Persaud added.
Reviewing the forestry sector during 2008, Persaud said that last year was an important year for forestry as Guyana pioneered a study which assessed the true value the forests provide locally and globally.
“This study was presented internationally to lobby for the creation of incentives for avoided deforestation.”
Guyana, Persaud said, was also one of the first 14 countries to be formally approved as a participant in the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), looking at ways to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).
“Because of these innovative initiatives, Guyana is now considered a world leader in the current global debate on the crucial roles of avoided deforestation and sustainably managed forests in global climate-change mitigation activities.”
These initiatives have also led to an increased awareness that forest products originating from Guyana come from sustainably managed forests, the Minister added, pointing out that this was an important factor that allowed Guyana to retain its market access, even in the face of the current financial meltdown.
This also resulted in numerous applications from credible investors requesting access to State Forest concessions and land for the establishment of multi-purpose processing and value-added facilities.
These applications are currently being considered in accordance with the established procedures of the GFC, Persaud added.
State forest areas that were consistently under-utilised in 2008, he told the National Assembly, were either repossessed or not renewed, in accordance with the forest legislation.
Last year, Persaud added, even though the National log export policy was not yet implemented, there was an encouraging decrease in log exports, and an increase in sawn lumber and other value-added products.
Emphasis was also placed on promotion of the lesser used species.
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