Oct 17, 2018 News
In the eyes of the Inter-American Development bank (IDB), Guyana faces both challenge and opportunity to manage its vast natural resources. It pointed out that since 2012, the rate of deforestation has ranged between 0.065% and 0.079%—a much lower rate than the collective deforestation rates of tropical forest countries, estimated at 0.6% and the annual deforestation rate for South America of around 0.45%.
The Bank noted, however, that the expansion of mining, conversion for agriculture, timber harvesting, and infrastructure development (especially roads) are substantial risks to the country’s forest cover.
The organization explained that in 2014, mining was responsible for 85% of total forest loss (a significant increase from 51% in the 1990s), and, as for agriculture, this was responsible for about 54% of the rest.
While preventing deforestation in Guyana is a challenge, the IDB said it also presents an opportunity to leverage financing from the provision of environmental services under international frameworks such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).
Up to last year, the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) noted that the deforestation percent was 0.048; the lowest since 2010.
In 2010, it was 0.056%; in 2011 – 0.054%; 2012- 0.079%; 2013- 0.068 %; 2014 – 0.065 % and 2015-2016 – 0.050 %.
According to GFC, the drivers for deforestation saw 8,851 hectares of forest lost last year.
Mining was the biggest culprit- 6,495 hectares; mining infrastructure – 947 hectares; forestry infrastructure–227 hectares; infrastructure- 195 hectares; agriculture- 477 hectares; settlements- 7 hectares and fire accounting for 502 hectares.
Since taking office, the Coalition Government has seized a number of large forestry concessions, including hundreds of thousands of hectares allocated to Chinese investors.
The seizures had reportedly impacted logging activities but the industry is said to be on an upswing now.
Since signing a historic US$250M climate deal with Norway, the monitoring of the country’s forests has been taken to another level.
GFC’s figures said, results have concluded that forests at a national scale remain largely intact, with over 99% of forest still standing.
GFC disclosed that it has completed mapping of year 2017. The assessment is part of the national programme of Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) that Guyana started in 2010 with support from the Norwegian Government and which forms part of the Guyana Norway Partnership on climate and forests.
For year seven, the GFC continued using ESA’s Sentine-l2 satellite imagery for the deforestation mapping. “Sentinel-2 data is free of charge; this is in line with the commitments made by Norway and Guyana in MRVS Phase 2 (Year 2015–Year 2019) that Guyana should look into non-payment options.”
The MRVS is coordinated by a team of local experts housed within the GFC and all mapping aspects and analyses are completed using local staff.
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