The Upper Suriname River area is one of the most populated river areas in the hinterland. This forested area is a productive landscape that provides ecosystem goods and services for the livelihoods of its inhabitants, as well as large spans of habitat for biodiversity and freshwater resources.
Situated in the northeastern part of South America, the Guiana Shield is formed by French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana and parts of Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia. The region is considered the most untouched and pristine area of rain forest in the world, with a huge potential for conservation and sustainable development. More than 80% of the land area is still covered with forest, whereas human populations are small and threat levels relatively low. However, pressures are expected to grow rapidly in the near future due to determined pushes for economic development especially in the forest, mining and agricultural sectors.
Hinterland villages are a typical component of a productive landscape: a forested area where several activities occur at the same time. Apart from the living area of villages, there are activities such as, agriculture, collection of forest products, hunting and fishing, logging, tourism, mining, and infrastructural works. The hinterland villages are still mainly focusing on subsistence, despite the fact that there are income generation opportunities in light of sustainable development of the area. This implies that in developing the area, serious considerations have to be given to the causes and consequences of climate change. Within the traditional knowledge of the local communities who are strongly dependent on nature, there are ways how to recognize and how to cope with the effects of climate changes.
Suriname has been engaged in REDD since 2008, which later developed into REDD+. In 2013 the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) approved the Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP).
Suriname has a total land surface of 163,820 km2, of which 94% is covered with forests. Forest Management principles are based on the Celos Management System which has been developed in Suriname in the sixties until the eighties. Based on the Celos Harvesting System, the annual allowable cut is 25 m3 per ha and the cycle is 25 years. In practice the average annual harvest is below 8 m3 per ha. One of the main reasons for this low figure is the heterogeneity of the forest and the concentration of the harvest on about 20 timber species. To decrease the pressure on these 20 species, it is important to harvest more tree species. This is also encouraged under the umbrella of (certification of) sustainable forest management (SFM). Promotion of lesser known timber species (LKTS) will increase harvest opportunities and improve the business case of SFM. This may also result in a higher contribution to the GDP of Suriname, which would make the forests more valuable to maintain.