Mining credited for Guyana’s decrease in deforestation rate



Men felling a tree at a logging company in the rainforest in Guyana[] – Guyana has completed its 4th Annual Assessment of Deforestation and Forest Degradation under the Monitoring Reporting and Verification System.

Interim results on 2013 deforestation rate indicate a decrease in the rate of deforestation from 0.079% as the annual rate for 2012, to 0.068% as the reported rate for 2013. 

Total deforestation is 12,702 hectares for 2013. According to a press release from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, the main reason for this decrease in deforestation rate is on account of a decrease in deforestation from mining activities which dropped to 11,487 hectares from the 2012 total of 13,664 hectares, a decline of 2,177 hectares.

“The decrease may be on account of new technology and more responsible and low-impact mining practices. A significant fact influencing this decline in deforestation in mining has also been the intensified monitoring activities by the natural resources sector and its agencies in working with operators in the sector,” the Ministry stated.

According to the Ministry, forest sector deforestation continues to be at a very low level of 330 hectares and justifies the assertions that forest harvest has had, and continues to have a very low impact on deforestation.

“The results are being finalised at this stage and will be incorporated into the MRVS Year 4 Report which is expected to be released shortly.  This findings and methods of the Year 4 assessment will be open to two layers of independent assessment: the first by a team of accuracy assessors who will be working to establish the statistical accuracy, uncertainty levels and precision of the reported results, including the deforestation rate; and the second assessment will take the form of an independent third party verification, conducted by a company contracted by the Government of Norway.” 

It was noted that the rate of deforestation over the past 23 years has remained fairly stable between the range of 0.02% and 0.08%, and stands to compare quite favourably with the global average deforestation rate (computed across 85 developing forested countries as report by FAO), which is recorded at 0.52%. 

This rate also compares very favourably with Guyana’s Reference Level as agreed under the Guyana Norway Bilateral Agreement on Forest and Climate, which is set at 0.275% (computed as the mean between Guyana’s historic rate of 0.03% and the global rate of 0.52%). 


Below is a summary of the main findings in the 2013 assessment and an accompanying graph:

Driver Year 1 – 2010 Year 2 – 2012 Year 3 – 2013 Year 4 – 2013
Forestry (includes forestry infrastructure) 294 233 240 330
Agriculture (permanent) 513 52 440 424
Mining (includes mining infrastructure) 9,384 9,175 13,664 11,487
Infrastructure 64 373 127 342
Fire (deforestation) 32 58 184 96
Settlements       23
Area Change 10,287 9,891 14,655 12,702
Deforestation Rate 0.056% 0.054% 0.079% 0.068%



Year Period
1990-2000 1
2001-2005 2
2006-2009 3
2010 4
2011 5
2012 6
2013 7









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