Description of plantation resources
Over 90 percent of the country is covered with forests. The Ministry of Natural Resources is responsible for forest plantations and other natural resources such as natural forests and mining. Within the Ministry, the Forest Service (LBB) is in charge of public forest resources management. Besides, there are several parastatal wood industries linked with the Ministry, one of which deals with Pinus spp. plantations (Playfair, 1999).
Development of forest plantations
The Forest Service has established plantations since 1951. In order to meet future demands, many plantations were established throughout the country using indigenous species. Between 1913 and 1923, forest plantations totalled 40 ha. Later, between 1956 and 1962 approximately 800 ha of Pinus spp. plantations were established through funding from a Dutch company to produce material for the pulp industry.
Further on, between 1960 and 1962, Pinus spp. plantations reached 1 247 ha. While in 1964, the plantation area was 704 ha, of which 42 ha had been planted with exotic hardwood species. In the following years, establishment of forest plantations, mostly with indigenous species, was funded by the Forest Service. Others were funded within the "Ten Year Plan" budget. This plan ended in 1968.
During 1968-1988, forest plantations were funded through two "Five Year Plans" and the total established area reached approximately 8 000 ha, of which about 5 000 ha were planted with Pinus spp. The rest were hardwood species (GOPA, 1998 and Playfair, 1999).
The predominant species is Pinus caribaea; it accounts for approximately 58 percent of the plantations. Plantations with Pinus caribaea are supposed to be industrial plantations. The rest of the plantations are established with broadleaved species, mainly indigenous species such as Cedrela spp., Cordia alliodora or Simaruba amara or an exotic species, Eucalyptus globulus. These broadleaved species have been established mainly as experimental plantings (GOPA, 1998, Mitchell, 1996 and MNR, 1990).
A review of the status of forest plantations is needed to identify areas with future potential or areas that are ready for harvest. Areas where harvest is not considered feasible, could be used for recreation or left for nature to take its course. In areas with high fertility, it is suggested that high quality timber species, both exotic and indigenous, be tried (Mitchell, 1996).
Due to inflation, the cost related to forest plantations has increased by five to eight percent annually and this leaves no funds available for maintenance of older plantations (GOPA, 1998).
Some of the forest plantations are mature enough to harvest, while many have not yet been thinned. Harvest should be concentrated on mature plantations. There is little information about standing volume, growth rates and current condition.
It is unlikely that Pinus spp. are suitable for many additional forest plantations because the sites are not fertile enough for Pinus spp. (Mitchell, 1996).
GOPA. 1998. Suriname, Preliminary forest sector study. Gesellschaft fuer Organisation, Planung und Ausbildung.
Mitchell. A.M. 1996. Draft report on forest management, Field document. In Project Strengthening National Capacity for Sustainable Development of Forests on Public Lands. Suriname, SUR/4551.
MNR. 1990. Forestry in Suriname, 1990. In Tenth World Forestry Congress. Paramaribo. Ministry of Natural Resources.
Playfair, M. 1999. Country report. In Regional workshop, Management and monitoring of forest concession. Paramaribo. Ministry of Natural Resources.