Forest levies or charges for the right to harvest timber from publicly owned forests in Suriname are currently set by the Minister for Natural Resources on behalf of the Government of Suriname. In the absence of competitive markets for such rights, it is necessary for the Government to calculate appropriate levels of forest levies that take into account the profitability and condition of the forestry sector. Forest levies are usually set by calculating the economic rent from forestry operations, or the surplus of timber revenues over operating and capital costs (including an allowance for normal profit). This, in turn, requires information to be collected about a range of factors, including: the biological condition and productivity of the forest; forest product output levels and productivity; and cost and price information.
Other components of the Project have or will make recommendations about the collection of forest inventory and production data necessary for the supervision and orderly development of the forestry sector (see, for example: Cox, 1998; Mitchell, 1998a; and Mitchell, 1998b). This report has been prepared to help staff of the State Forest Service in Suriname (Lands Bosbeheer or LBB) collect and evaluate economic information about the forestry sector in Suriname. As part of this task it also examines the collection of relevant data from international sources. Much of this report discusses the collection of economic data for the purpose of setting forest fees. However, it also discusses the collection of economic and other types of data for wider forestry policy and forest industry development, where this has not been covered in other reports of the Project.
The next section of this report briefly discusses the methods that can be used to collect economic data on the forestry sector and the sorts of data that are required. The processes followed during this study are described and used as examples of how data can be collected and assessed. Section three describes the data collected from local sources in Suriname to support the analyses presented in other reports. Section four describes the data collected from international sources. The final section of the report presents conclusions and recommendations about information and data collection and storage in the future. Two appendices to the report present other data sources which can be used for economic analysis or general forestry policy development. The first presents useful data sources that are freely available and the second presents a record of discussions that were held with various stakeholders in the forestry sector in Suriname. These were used to collect a lot of the information presented earlier in the paper and are given as an example of the sorts of results which can be obtained from such interviews. A third appendix also presents a classification system for the storage of information about forestry in Suriname.