TBI in Suriname works towards the preservation and sustainable management of forests and trees in the Upper Suriname River area through local governance, access to land and resources for the local communities, and improved livelihoods and income.
The Saamaka territory is located in the Upper Suriname River area, which is a heavily forested landscape with limited (but increasing) commercial activity, predominantly inhabited by the Saamaka Maroon population. The population strongly relies on rain-fed subsistence agriculture which is considered highly vulnerable to climate change. Changes in temperature and rainfall and drought spells are reducing crop output, and freshwater availability. Floods will lead to homesteads being damaged and droughts affect the accessibility of the villages by river, affecting the mobility of people and products, resulting in higher costs for households. The absence of effective legal safeguards for their traditional territories exacerbates their vulnerability.
The rapid growth of the Maroon population in combination with a lack of formal land (use) rights and increased investments for the development of economic activities (such as tourism, infrastructure, logging, and mining), lead to increased pressure on the forest. Whereas commercial agriculture is currently limited due to high transportation costs and lack of markets, ongoing improvements of the road network are likely to increase commercial agricultural activities in the near future, increasing pressures on the forest.
We believe that with a strengthened local governance in the Saamaka territory, that is well integrated in the formal governance structures and processes, and that serves as a model for locally controlled, climate smart development, will preserve forests and trees while providing an improved livelihood and income benefits to the inhabitants.
What we do:
- Assure local participation in the development and implementation of legislation on formal tenure rights over land and forest resources;
- Improve local land and forest governance;
- Establish land-use plans with local communities defining the areas for agricultural expansion, community forestry and preservation of primary forests;
- Engage local people in climate-smart productive activities that allow for improved livelihoods for men and women and offer economic opportunities to the youth; and
- Identifying financial resources to make these accessible for developing value chains and community forestry by local communities.
Tropenbos International works in Suriname through its local network partner Tropenbos Suriname. Visit their website for more information: www.tropenbos.sr
Tropenbos International has been operational in Suriname since 2003. In 2005 Tropenbos Suriname became a legal national entity of Suriname and in 2017 a member of the Tropenbos International network.
In recent years TBI in Suriname has built the capacities of the people of the Saamaka Maroon tribe in the Upper Suriname River area and supported them in making detailed three-dimensional (3D) maps of their territories, including references to the availability and use of forest-ecosystem goods and services. These maps are used in negotiations with authorities about land planning issues. In another region, capacity of forest managers and local communities was strengthened with the tailor-made course on Village Development. The manual 'Sustainable Forest Management for Village Development' published by Tropenbos Suriname and VHL University is used by the Ministry of Regional Development in its programmes throughout Suriname. Tropenbos Suriname’s engagement in the National REDD+ Readiness programme focuses d on forest-dependent livelihoods as a vehicle for sustainable use of the forest and a source of income for the communities.