Guyana is known throughout the world for its almost pristine and vast rainforest cover. These ecosystems host an equally impressive array of plants and animals, a high percentage of which can be found only here, in the ‘land of many waters’. Without a doubt, in a world that is plagued by the ravaging effects of climate change, our rainforests are more valuable than ever. Forests also provide other benefits that are not only essential to the people of Guyana, but to the world.
Other benefits of having standing tropical rainforests include:
• Repository for medicinal and other scientific and cultural research;
• Opportunities for eco-tourism and nature-based income-generation activities;
• Provision and purification of freshwater; and
• Protection against drought, floods, and erosion.
Facts on Guyana’s rainforest
• Approximately 85% of its total land area is covered by forest (18.5 million hectares), the second highest proportion in the world, behind Suriname;
• Forests in Guyana can be classified as rainforest (36%), montane forest (35%), swamp and marsh (15%), dry evergreen (7%), seasonal forest (6%), and mangrove forest (1%);
• In 2012, Guyana recorded a deforestation rate of less than 1%; and
• Four of Guyana’s five protected areas are found in its rainforests.
World Rainforest Day
Founded in 2017 by Rainforest Partnership, World Rainforest Day, celebrated annually on June 22, recognises standing, healthy forests as one of the most powerful and cost-effective climate change mitigation tools we have – and creates a global movement to protect and restore them.
With the abundance and variety of valuable plants and animals, their importance to the global climate, and the alarming rate of forest cover loss, it is no wonder that the theme for this year is ‘The Time is Now’. The time is now indeed for governments, corporations, and individuals to take action to reverse the trends of biodiversity loss and unsustainable use of forest resources.
Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy presents a clear pathway for harnessing payments for the services provided by forests, while low impact mining and forestry are conducted. The Joint Agreement with the Kingdom of Norway has seen a robust Monitoring and Verification System which, over the years, has shown record low deforestation rates.
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