All CEP Technical Reports
CEP Technical Report No. 36 1996: Status of Protected
Area Systems in the Wider Caribbean Region
Area 163,800 sq. km.
Protected Areas (PAs)
|PAs with Marine or Coastal Zones||Extension|
|World Heritage Sites||0||0||0|
(1) Totals have been adjusted to avoid double counting of areas with multiple management categories.
Policy and Legislation
Provision for the establishment of protected areas is made in various pieces of legislation. Original legislation was passed during the time that the region was a colony of the Netherlands, and has since been updated, both before and after independence. Suriname gained full independence from the Netherlands in 1975. The authority of the Governor of the colony has been transferred to the President of the Republic of Suriname.
The first piece of legislation covering the region was provided in Article 44 of the Police Penal Code, Government Bulletin (G.B.) No. 77, 1915 (updated by G.B. No. 152, 1942 with latest amendment in G.B. No. 107, 1964, (Annex I). This code contained the mechanism to establish areas where hunting or capturing of wildlife was only allowed following issue of a written permit. The first sanctuary was established, under this code, following Government Resolution (G.B. No. 12, 1953) on 15 February 1953.
Under the Law on the Issuance of State-owned Lands (Agarische Wet G.B. No. 53, 1937, updated by G.B. No. 53, 1953), later updated by Decreet L-2 of 15 June 1982, nature parks and multiple-use management areas may be created (Annex I) (Baal 1991).
In 1948 the Nature Conservation Commission (Natuurbeschermingscommissie) was established by Government Resolution in order to study conservation problems, and to propose legislation for conservation. This resulted in the Nature Preservation Law, 1954 (Government Gazette No. 26), under which the principles of nature conservation were first formulated, and provided for the establishment of nature reserves by state resolution (Annex I). Five nature preservation resolutions have been passed to date.
The 1986 resolution included a provision for the traditional rights and interests of indigenous people living in tribal communities, where these rights would affect the newly protected areas. These traditional rights were subject to various provisos, and essentially ensured the following: free choice for the settlement of villages; free choice of land for the establishment of shifting cultivation grounds; permission to hunt, fish and apply for a cutting permit (Baal 1991).
A planning law (Planwet) of 1973 (G.B. No. 89) provides for the establishment of, among other things, special management areas (bijzondere beheersgebieden, Annex I). However, not all agencies dealing with the execution of this law have been established, and it is not yet operational (Baal 1991).
Forestry legislation currently comprises the Timber Law, 1947 (Annex I) which provides for reserving areas for exploration and exploitation, and for placing concessions at the disposal of the government. The Forest Service is authorised to manage certain of these areas as forest reserves. By Resolution 2824 of 21 July 1947 (G.G. No. 108, 1947), the Forest Service (Dienst's Lands Bosbeheer) was established to manage forest reserves and to ensure sustainable management of the nation's forests.
A draft Law on Forest Management (Concept-Ontwerp Wet Bosbeheer), which will replace the Timber Law, currently awaits enactment by Parliament. It will distinguish three main categories of forest according to land use: permanent forest (blijvend bos); conversion forest (eenmalig leeg te kappen bos) and provisionally maintained forest (voorlopig in stand te houden bos). Permanent forest comprises specially protected forest (speciaal beschermd bos), protection forest (schermbos) and permanent production forest (blijvend produktiebos) (Baal 1991).
Conventions & Treaties
Amazon Co-operation Treaty, (ATC, 1978)
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 1992)
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, 1973)
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS, 1982)
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Migratory Species, 1972)
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar, 1971)
Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere (Western Hemisphere Convention, 1940)
Programmes & Associations
Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP, 1981) and its Specially Protected Areas & Wildlife Programme (SPAW, 1990)
UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB, 1972)
FAO Tropical Forestry Action Plan (TFAP, 1985)
The Ministry of Natural Resources (Ministerie van Natuurlijke Hulpbronnen) is responsible for policy direction, legislation, issuance of permits, budget allocation and inter-ministerial co-ordination, and for all matters relating to natural resources. Three sections exist within this ministry. The Forest Service and the Bureau of Lands are responsible for protected areas, while the Foundation for Nature Preservation, deals with sea turtles and nature tourism. The Director responsible for the first two sections is also responsible for enforcement of the Police Penal Code (under which sanctuaries may be established) (Baal 1989, 1991; Held and Reichart 1991).
A high-level advisory body, the Nature Conservation Commission, was established in 1948 to advise the government on environmental and conservation issues and to assist in decision-making. Responsibilities of the commission include supervising the implementation of the Nature Preservation Law and selecting areas for designation as nature reserves (Baal 1989).
The Forest Service is in charge of the protection, control, and management of the forest resources, and both forest protection and production, as detailed in the 1954 Nature Preservation Law. Within the Forest Service, the Nature Conservation Division comprises four sections, one for each of its functions: nature reserves and wildlife management (including trade regulation); research; education; and Bureau for Commissions to issue permits (Baal 1989). Regulation enforcement and patrolling of protected areas is carried out by forest guards of the Forest Service (Schulz 1968). Nature reserves are managed primarily to afford protection for scientific research purposes, but tourism and environmental education are encouraged increasingly in the more accessible areas (Mittermeier et al 1990, Schulz 1968). A second division within the Forest Service, the Special Protection Forest and Protection Forest Section, is responsible for formulating the new draft Law on Forest Management and for its implementation once it is passed (Held and Reichart 1991).
The Bureau of Lands is responsible for long-term lease areas which include nature parks and multiple-use management areas.
In 1969, the Foundation for Nature Preservation (Stichting Natuurbehoud Suriname, STINASU), a non-governmental organisation, was established to assist the Forest Service in managing nature reserves. The responsibilities of STINASU have grown, and it now plays an important role in conservation in the country. It is responsible for nature tourism, promoting public environmental awareness campaigns, including sponsoring and guiding the development of a Wildlife Rangers Club for young people, and conducting research on sea-turtles. STINASU also has sole management of one nature reserve (Baal, 1989, Mittermeier et al 1990). The Forest Service and STINASU work very closely together and provide mutual assistance for their conservation activities.
A Conservation Action Plan was drawn up in 1990 (by WWF-USA, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and STINASU) as part of the National Forestry Action Plan, to provide a framework by which conservation activities in Suriname may be amplified and strengthened (Mittermeier et al 1990). The Conservation Action Plan contains projected activities for a period of five years, including the formulation of management plans for each protected area, and establishment of an ecological database to provide up-to-date information on the status of ecosystems and species. These measures will assist in the administration of existing protected areas and in selecting new areas for protection. An increase in training opportunities for conservation workers is also recommended, such as providing fellowships for further education in conservation-related programmes with international assistance, at the University of Suriname, and foreign institutes (Mittermeier et al 1990). Further details of the National Forestry Action Plan and the extent of implementation are currently not available.
Suriname has a typical tropical climate with average temperature of 27C all year, and annual rainfall between 1750 mm and 3000 mm. Four main ecological regions may be distinguished: young coastal plain; old coastal plain; savannah belt; and the interior region (Mittermeier et al 1990).
The young coastal plain lies between 0-4 m above sea level and consists of clay swamps with a natural vegetation of mangrove forests, open herbaceous swamps and several types of swamp forest. Just inland of this is the old coastal plain, lying between 4 m-11 m above sea level and consisting of clay swamps, sand ridges covered with grass, herbaceous swamps, swamp forests, dry forests and large areas of peat swamps (Mittermeier et al 1990). Behind the coastal region lies the savannah belt, between 10 m-100 m, and characterised by white sand ecosystems. The natural vegetation is xerophytic and mesophytic dry and swamp forests, and dry to wet grass and shrub savannahs.
Extending inland from the savannahs on the ancient Guiana Shield, the interior region covers three-quarters of the total area of the country (Mittermeier et al 1990). Altitudes range from sea level to 1,230 m. The region is almost entirely covered with primary tropical rain forest, interspersed with small patches of marsh forest along rivers and creeks. Around 95% of the total population live in the coastal region where the capital city in located, and about 5% live in the interior. The forest in this sparsely uninhabited region is largely undisturbed and the rate of destruction is very low, around 0.1% annually (Mittermeier et al 1990). Nearly 90% of total land area is covered by forest.
Protected areas in Suriname cover over 900,000 ha, 6% of the country's landmass. Four areas include marine or coastal resources, and one, the Coppename River Mouth, has been accepted as a Ramsar Wetland.
Nature conservation activities are based on Dutch traditions and began around 50 years ago. The Nature Conservation Commission was established in 1948 to assist the government in all environmental conservation issues. The first attempt at management was the creation of the first game sanctuary in 1953, based on the 1942 Police Penal Ordinance (Baal 1989, Schulz 1968). In 1969 this area became Coppenamemonding Nature Reserve, forming part of the first phase of protected areas (nine nature reserves and one nature park) that were gazetted between 1961 and 1972.
Most of these protected areas are located in remote areas of the country. The second phase of protected area management began following Suriname's independence. The need was felt to preserve interesting natural areas in lowland areas where human pressure on the ecosystems was higher. Four new nature reserves were therefore gazetted in 1986, and in 1987 part of the estuarine zone, Bigi Pan, was put at the disposal of the Ministry of Natural Resources to be managed as a multiple-use management area (Held and Reichart 1991).
It has been proposed since 1976 that the whole estuarine area, including Bigi Pan Multiple-Use Management Area, could become a special management area. Brownsberg Nature Park is a long-term lease area issued to the Foundation for National Preservation in Suriname which manages it as a national park (Baal 1991).
Management of protected areas is well organised, and is generally good. The factor most restricting its efficiency is a lack of funds and equipment. Five areas, however, do have administrative buildings and a guard force. Initially, in its enthusiasm to preserve wild habitats, the government did not give much consideration to the interests of tribal people (Held and Reichart 1991).
Despite this, government decisions have generally been respected, largely due to the low population pressure, and the existence of adequate land outside protected areas for tribal uses. Legislation has now been modified to take account of the needs of tribal people. In addition, the Forest Service and STINASU, when starting to manage protected areas have strived to maintain good relationships with local villagers.
An important exception has been the resistance to attempts to reduce the extent of turtle egg harvest in Galibi Nature Reserve (Reichart 1991). Conflicts that do arise may be split into three categories: Amerindian claims of traditional rights; intensive land use on park boundaries; conflicting interests in the multiple-use management area (Held and Reichart 1991).
Where possible, workers for the reserves and park are hired from the villages, and villagers are allowed to enter the reserves and park to fish, collect fuelwood and medicinal plants for personal use, and to perform cultural activities. However, the general laws on hunting, fishing, and forest exploitation have been complied with (Held and Reichart 1991).
The Forest Service and STINASU have suffered from great financial problems, due to the economic recession of the country, especially during the last ten years. Nevertheless, financial and technical assistance is received from some international and foreign organisations, such as WWF-USA and WWF-The Netherlands, Conservation International, The Royal Institute for Nature Management in the Netherlands, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and the Organisation of American States.
Nature Conservation Department of the Forest Service, Ministerie van Natuurlijke Hulpbronnen (Ministry of Natural Resources), Cornelis Jongbawstraat 10-12, PO Box 436, PARAMARIBO Tel: (597) 479431 (597) 475845 Fax: (597) 422555
Stichting Natuurbehoud Suriname (Foundation for Nature Preservation in Suriname, STINASU), PO Box 436, PARAMARIBO (Tel: 75845 ext. 343541)
Baal, F.L.J. (1989) Nature conservation and management in Suriname. Suriname Forest Service, Paramaribo. 8 pp.
Baal, F.L.J. (1991) Legal aspects of protected areas in Suriname. Presented at IVth World Congress on National Parks and Protected Areas, Caracas, Venezuela 10-21 February 1992. 30 pp.
Held, M.M. and Reichart, H.A. (1991) Managing protected areas in Suriname. Presented at IVth World Congress on National Parks and Protected Areas, Caracas, Venezuela 10-21 February 1992. 26 pp.
Mittermeier, R.A., Plotkin, M.J., Werner, T.B., Malone, S.A.J., Baal, F., MacKnight, J., Mohadin, K., Werkhoven, M. (1990) Conservation action plan for Suriname. Conservation International, Ministry of Natural Resources, World Wide Fund for Nature, Foundation for Nature Preservation in Suriname (STINASU), and University of Suriname in collaboration with Suriname Forest Service, Paramaribo. 45 pp.
Reichart, H.A. (1991) The Galibi Nature Reserve. Presented at IVth World Congress on National Parks and Protected Areas, Caracas, Venezuela 10-21 February 1992. 15 pp.
Schulz, J.P. (1968) Nature Preservation in Suriname. Unpublished report. 21 pp.
ANNEX I: LEGAL INSTRUMENTS
Definitions of protected area designations, as legislated together with authorities responsible for their administration.
Title: The Police Penal Code, Government Bulletin (G.B.) No. 77, 1915 (updated by G.B. No. 152, 1942 with latest amendment in G.B. No. 107, 1964).
Brief description: Provides for the establishment of sanctuaries.
Administrative Authority: Ministry of Natural Resources
Sanctuary Hunting or capturing of wildlife is only allowed following issue of a written permit.
Source: Baal (1989)
Title: Law on the Issuance of State-owned Lands (Agarische Wet G.B. No. 53, 1937, updated by G.B. No. 53, 1953), later updated by Decree L-2 of 15 June 1982, by which nature parks and multiple-use management areas may be created.
Brief description: Provides for the establishment of nature parks and Multiple-Use Management Areas.
Administrative Authority: Bureau of Lands
Multiple-Use Management Area No information.
Nature park No information.
Source: Baal (1991)
Title: The Timber Law
Brief description: Provides for the creation of forest reserves, and for placing concessions at the disposal of the Government.
Administrative Authority: Forest Service
Forest Reserve For exploration and exploitation.
Source: Baal (1989), Schulz (1968)
NB This Forest law is soon to be replaced by the existing draft Law on Forest Management (Concept-Ontwerp Wet Bosbeheer), which currently awaits enactment by Parliament.
Title: Natuurbeschermingswet (Nature Preservation Law, Government Bulletin No. 26)
Brief description: Provides for the establishment, by State Resolution, of protected areas under the designation nature reserve.
Administrative Authority: Suriname Forest Service
Nature Reserve An area of public land which is of scientific, aesthetic or cultural value. The area may not necessarily be of exceptional value, but may be a representative sample of an important national ecosystem. The area is selected for designation by the advisory board, the Nature Conservation Commission, created in 1948. The primary management objective of reserves is protection for scientific research purposes. Recreational and educational activities are possible in the more accessible reserves. The carrying of firearms is not permitted, or any other means of hunting or capturing wildlife, including dogs.
Article 7 provides for the opportunity to have a business within the boundaries of the reserve (in accordance to an approved plan) to gather forest products, to graze cattle, or to fish when certain conditions are complied with.
Source: Baal (1989), Schulz (1968)
Title: Planning law (Planwet, G.B. No. 89)
Brief description: Provides for the establishment of special management areas.
Administrative Authority: Planning Bureau
Special Management Area (Bijzondere Beheersgebieden)
Source: Baal (1989)
ANNEX II: SURINAME PROTECTED AREAS LIST
|Name of area||IUCN & National Mgmt. Categories||Presence of Marine or Coastal Zones||Area
|Eilerts de Haan||IV||NR||220,000||1966|
NR = Nature Reserves
NP = Nature Park
MU = Multiple Use Management Area
RW = Ramsar Wetland
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