All about the Guyana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement

Forests cover 87% of Guyana’s total land area of 21.1 million hectares and they make an important contribution to the economy, providing jobs and livelihoods. The Government own 86% of the forests, while indigenous peoples own 14% of the land. In 2014, the annual deforestation rate was estimated to be 0.065%. Most deforestation is attributed to mining for gold and bauxite, which represents 60% of Guyana’s exports. Mining accounted for 87% of deforestation in 2014.

Of the forested area, approximately 12.6 million hectares is State forest administered by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).[1] These forests are classified as swamp forest on the coast and rain forest, seasonal and dry evergreen forest inland.

A high proportion of the forests of Guyana is pristine — the forests of the Guiana Shield have been recognised as one of the world’s last remaining ‘frontier forests’. Guyana’s forests are valuable reservoirs of biodiversity and provide a habitat for approximately 8,000 plant species and more than 1,000 species of terrestrial vertebrates. Many of these animals and plants are endemic species, meaning they are found nowhere else on Earth. It is estimated that 5% of all plant species in Guyana are endemic.

Timber, which the forests yield for housing and industry, and non-timber forest products, assist in the country’s social and economic growth and development. Forestry contributes to employment, providing approximately 20,000 jobs, mainly in the rural and hinterland areas.[2]

The forest industries sub-sector consists of mainly logging and sawmilling operations with wide ranging characteristics. For example, the capital requirements of the sector range from low to very high; its technological requirements range from simple to sophisticated and forest industries may be either labour and/or capital intensive.

The forests serve multiple land-use functions. They also provide socio-cultural services. They are an integral part of Amerindian and local community culture, with forest resources being used as a source of food, building materials, fibres for textiles and weaving, medicine, tannins and dyes. In addition, several communities are involved in commercial harvesting and use of forest resources.[2]

According to the FLEGT Independent Market Monitor, EU imports from Guyana tend to be quite volatile. Having fallen sharply to USD 2.2 million in 2016, imports from Guyana peaked to USD 5.1 million, before easing to USD 4.8 million in September 2019.


[1] Guyana Forestry Commission; Guyana REDD+ MRVS Year 4 Interim Report, 2015
[2] Guyana Forestry Commission; National Forest Policy Statement, 2011

VPA status

Detailed information on efforts by Guyana and the EU to tackle illegal logging through a Voluntary Partnership Agreement.

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Find out what impact the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Guyana and the EU is having on the ground.

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Get answers to some common questions on the Guyana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement.

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