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Country Profiles

Access to latest commentary on timber industries and economies of EU and VPA partner countries



VPA Status: FLEGT Negotiating

vpa status history
  • Guyana initialed the VPA agreement with the EU in 2018, with one emphasis being its role in upholding indigenous Amerindian people’s rights and interests.
  • At the same time, a final draft of Guyana’s Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) was developed with an aim to make the country a ‘de-carbonised, resource efficient economy’.
  • The GSDS was developed through a multi-layered, nationwide, stakeholder consultation process conducted throughout 2018, with the technical support of the UN Environment Regional Office in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The GSDS was revised and submitted to the Government’s Cabinet in April 2019 and implementation is due to begin in 2020.
  • To help progress its VPA, in 2018 Guyana launched formal consultations on new Forestry Regulations to receive input from private sector and civil society.
  • Also in 2018, Guyana formalised a compulsory Code of Practice for forest operations which is now incorporated into the legal framework. The new Regulations and Code of Practice allow for a more robust system of monitoring.
  • As well as clarifying legal and administrative requirements applicable to the forest sector, the VPA process has led to other governance gains. It has strengthened government institutions responsible for forestry, tax, customs, environment, labour and land use, and improved coordination between them.
  • In a boost for transparency, the Guyana Forestry Commission now publishes information about allocation of logging concessions on its website.

Forest Resources

Forest area (2020) 18.415 mil. ha
Deforestation rate (2010-2020) -0.0104 mil. ha/year
Planted area (2020) 0 ha
Tree cover loss (2001-2018) 221,000 ha (-1.2 %)
Tree cover gain (2001-2012) 11,400 ha
FSC certified area (August 2021) 570,075 ha
PEFC certified area (August 2021) 0 ha
Double certified area (FSC & PEFC, August 2021) 0 ha

Source: FAO, Global Forest Watch, FSC, PEFC

  • According to FAO Forest Resource Assessment, forest cover was 18.415 million hectares in 2020, 87% of Guyana’s total surface area.
  • According to FAO 2020 Forest Resource Assessment, the productive forest area has declined from 18.47 million hectares in 1990 to 10.98 million hectares in 2020. In the same period biodiversity conservation is the primary purpose of nearly 1 million hectares. In 2020 6.44 million hectares have no designated function.
  • Of the forestland, 12.57 million hectares is designated as State Forests and placed under the management of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).
  • An area covering just over 3.2 million hectares has been conveyed as Amerindian Titled Lands, the largest private landownership in Guyana.
  • According to FAO 2020 Forest Resource Assessment, deforestation averaged only 9,205 hectares per year between 2014 and 2020, a very low rate compared to other tropical countries. 90% of Guyana’s forest remains intact, according to the World Bank. The main deforestation driver in recent years has been development for mining.
  • Common species found in Guyana include Mora gonggrijpii (morabukea), Chlorocardium rodiei (greenheart), Vouacapoua macropetala (sarabebeballi) and Clathrotropis brachypetala (aromata), according to ITTO’s 2011 Status of Tropical Forest Management report.


GDP (2020) 5,471.26 million USD
Population (2020) 0.79 million
Income group (2020) Upper middle income
Ease of Doing Business (EDB) Rank (2019) 134 / 190
Global Competitiveness Index Rank (2019) – / 141
Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (maximum value in 2004 = 100) (2019)

Source: World Bank, World Economic Forum

Timber Industry Competitiveness

  • The forest products sector in Guyana comprises a few foreign owned medium to large enterprises, several family-owned small to medium enterprises, several community chain saw operating associations, and several one-person chain saw operators.
  • Guyana has some competitive advantages in the wood product sector, notably the large area of relatively intact forest with several desirable hardwood species, such as greenheart, purpleheart, and wamara, the latter a substitute for rosewood that has been overharvested elsewhere.
  • The Government of Guyana has a policy to develop value-added processing in the country, particularly of lesser known species, and has indicated willingness to offer fiscal incentives to achieve this goal.
  • However, other factors make Guyana a challenging environment for development of a globally competitive forest sector. Infrastructure in Guyana remains generally inadequate and unevenly maintained. Frequent and unpredictable electrical outages, high electricity costs, no deepwater port, a low percentage of paved roads, relatively high telecommunication costs, and an underdeveloped transportation system complicate commercial operations.
  • These challenges are reflected in Guyana’s relatively low position on international competitiveness indices. Guyana’s hasn’t been listed on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness index since 2017, after slipping through the ranks in previous years. Ranking on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index fell from 126th in 2017 to 134th in 2019. Guyana is ranked very low (9.2) on the Global Liner Shipping Connectivity Index.
  • As a result, Guyana’s wood products sector is characterised by a focus on relatively low value primary activities, log harvesting and processing of green lumber and some plywood manufacturing.

Trade Overview

  • According to the ITTO Biennial Review, national log production was 410,980 m3 in 2020. This is higher than the figure reported by the Guyana Forestry Commission for 2018 of 293,100 m3 of logs, 4% more than 2017. In 2018, 67,600 m3 of production was of high quality “Special Category” logs, mainly comprising greenheart, with smaller volumes of purpleheart and other species. Sawnwood production in 2020 amounted to 43,900 m3.
  • In addition to logs, 24,000 m3 of small diameter poles, piles and posts were produced in 2018, 13% more than in 2017. Much of this volume comprised greenheart and wallaba.
  • Plywood production was 14,600 m3 in 2020, the same as 2018, and nearly double the volume of 2017 (7,333 m3) according to Guyana Forestry Commission data.
  • Guyana also produced 10,400 m3 of charcoal and 13,600 m3 of fuelwood in 2018.
  • ITTO states that log exports amounted to 57,000 m3 in 2020 along with 21,340 m3 of sawnwood.



  • Guyana imported timber and paper products with a total value of around US$20.5 million in 2020, a decline from US$24.7 million the previous year.

  • Imports from the US, formerly the leading supplier, declined from US$9.2 million in 2019 to US$5.6 million in 2020. The main imports from the US include paper, mouldings, sawnwood and furniture.

  • Imports from China increased from US$4.7 million in 2019 to US$4.9 million in 2020, primarily paper products and the remainder mainly furniture.

  • Imports from Brazil increased from US$1.7 million in 2019 to US$2.3 million in 2020, mainly comprising secondary processed wood products and sawnwood.

Guyana’s imports by product group (data source: STIX)
Guyana’s leading import product flows (data source: STIX)


  • Guyana exported timber and timber products with total value of US$33.4 million in 2020, a decline since 2019 (US$41.4 million) and considerably less than the US$80.8 million recorded in 2015.
  • Export trade is dominated by trade with China (44% – US$14.7 million); USA (21% – US$7.2 million); UK (10% – US$3.3 million) and India (circa 8% – US$2.5 million). EU27+UK trade represented (16.9% – US$5.6 million) in 2020.
  • Exports comprise mainly logs (US$19.8 million in 2020) and sawnwood (US$10.4 million) with lesser quantities of secondary processed wood products US$2 million and plywood (US$0.5 million).
  • Log export has declined from a high in 2015 (US$62 million).
  • In 2020, log exports were dominated by trade with China (US$14.7 million), India (US$2.5 million), USA (US$0.9 million) and the Netherlands (US$0.7 million).
  • Sawnwood exports also declined in 2020, down from US$12.4 million in 2019 to $10.4 million.
  • Sawnwood exports were dominated by trade with USA (US$4.9 million) and the UK (US$2.5 million).
  • Exports of secondary processed wood products amounted to US$2 million in 2020, an increase from 2019 (US$1.6 million).
  • The main markets for secondary wood products were USA (US$1.3 million) and Germany (US$0.3 million).
Guyana’s exports by product group (data source: STIX)

EU+UK Imports from Guyana

  • EU imports of timber products from Guyana have been volatile in recent years, a reflection of the limited range of products on offer (mainly focused on logs and sawnwood, particularly of greenheart) and their use in specialist niche applications (notably water protection works).
  • In 2020 the EU27+UK represented 16.9% of the total value of exports from Guyana, an increase from 10% in 2019 and 4.3% in 2016.
  • In 2020, the EU27+UK imported US$5.6 million of timber and timber products from Guyana, a 31% increase compared to 2019.
  • In 2020, the EU27+UK imported US$3.7 million of sawnwood from Guyana, an increase from $2.7 million in 2019.
  • The EU27+UK imported US$1.4 million of logs from Guyana in 2020, the highest value recorded since 2016.
  • Nearly all EU27+UK imports from Guyana in the period 2004 to 2020 were destined for just two countries, the Netherlands and the UK. Small amounts of logs were exported to Italy and Belgium.
EU+UK imports from Guyana by product group
(data source
: Eurostat COMEXT)
EU+UK imports from Guyana by destination
(data source
: Eurostat COMEXT)

Data Sources and Issues

  • Due to lack of regular data on timber product exports from Guyana, the statistics shown in this IMM report draw on import data from major timber trading partners in America, the EU, and Asia. While these countries include many of Guyana’s most significant trade partners, there are data gaps, notably relating to trade flows with neighbouring countries in the Central American and Caribbean region. Data is derived from IMM analysis of UN COMTRADE, Eurostat COMEXT, and national statistics from Business Trade Statistics Ltd. The data is also made available at and
  • Where necessary, the commentary in this report draws on additional secondary sources, notably the Guyana Forestry Commission’s Forest Sector Information Report Annual Review.