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Bai Shan Lin Logging Concessions - Guyana

China’s Bai Shan Lin Forestry Projects in Guyana
Second World Congress on Timber & Wood Products Trade
China – November 2012
Photo Credit: Guyanese Online Blog

 

Since starting work on my second novel, I’m immersed in the rainforest of the northwest region of Guyana where the story unfolds. After watching the video of “Bai Shan Lin Aerial View of Massive Logging Exports,” posted on the Guyanese Online Blog, I was perplexed.

Just five years ago, Guyana had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Norway agreeing to work towards Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). To make this possible, Norway established the REDD+ Investment Fund with the commitment to provide Guyana with up to US$250 million by 2015. What had gone wrong?

The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has refuted claims made by Kaieteur News that Bai Shan Lin has been “raping” the country of its forestry resources due to poor monitoring. On 18 August 2014, GFC published a full page newspaper advertisement, “Setting the Record Straight on the Forestry Sector.” Among the claims denied, GFC stated:

The GFC has a very robust system to monitor and control harvesting of forest produce. Illegal logging in Guyana is less than 1%. All forest produce exported are verified through the Forest Monitoring Chain to establish legal origin before they are actually exported. The GFC system for monitoring, harvesting and exporting have been independently audited, by international experts and has found to be credible.

Global Timber’s article on “Guyana’s Timber Trade” reveals a complex system of Chinese joint ventures that must hinder GFC’s effective control. The article highlights major players from China, Malaysia, and India. Import-export data include China’s imports of logs from Guyana 2005-2013; Guyana’s exports of logs, sawn wood and plywood 2006-2013; Guyana exports of timber by country 2000-2012; and Declared imports of logs from Guyana by India (2005-2010) and China (2007-June 2014).

REDD-Monitor has closely followed news reports from Kaieteur News about Bai Shan Lin. In an article published on 19 August 2014, REDD-Monitor concluded that “[t]he industrial scale logging makes a mockery of Guyana’s much trumpeted US$250 million REDD deal with Norway.”

Guyana’s agreement with Norway demands internationally accepted good practices in monitoring and controlling its forestry industry. On 23 August 2014, Det Norske Veritas, an expert team contracted independently by Norway, released its report, “Verification of Interim REDD+ Partnership 2012 – Year 3,” issued on 17 December 2013. The Guyana Forestry Commission obtained an overall positive evaluation, successfully completing its fourth round of reporting and independent verification.

This performance earned Guyana clearance of the fourth payment to the REDD+ Investment Fund, officially announced on 21 August 2014. The first three payments total US$115 million. Considering the allegations made against the Bai Shan Lin Group, Guyana risks failing the independent evaluation for the year 2013.

Climate change already poses a social-economic threat to Guyana and its Caribbean partners. Yet, Guyana’s political leadership does not appear to be fully committed to maintaining its low rate of carbon emissions.

Monkey know which limb to climb on, says Guyanese proverbial wisdom. Only vigilance will prevent the rape of Guyana’s forests. Thanks Kaieteur News.

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