Guyana produced enough timber in 2023 to build more than 20,000 homes

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

See full statement from the Ministry of Natural Resources: 

In 2023, Guyana produced approximately 446,000 cubic meters of timber products, enough to build more than 20,000 homes, based on United States standards.

The forestry sector’s contribution to Guyana’s economy is undeniable.

According to the US National Association of Home Builders and other sources, building one house typically requires about 22 cubic meters of timber. However, if one applies this production to a Caribbean or Guyana context, where houses are typically smaller, the number of homes that could be built with this amount of timber exceeds 25,000.

This sector contributed greatly to the country’s exports, which reached US$20.5 million.

Last year. Timber exports are expected to increase to US$31.4 million in 2024, marking a significant expected increase of US$10.9 million, or approximately 53%.

More importantly, in 2023, Guyana’s forestry sector generated a gross domestic product of approximately US$86.32 million. With an expected growth of 3.9% in 2024, the sector’s GDP is projected to increase to around US$89.68 million. This growth is driven by sustainable practices and increased timber production.

The performance of the sector in 2023 was largely driven by increased production of logs, sawn wood, and round wood, outweighing declines in fuel wood and split wood.

This increased production is expected to continue supporting Guyana’s construction boom. The country’s economic growth, urged by increased oil production, has led to a surge in construction activities, including homes, industrial properties, and new buildings for businesses, hospitals, hotels, and schools.

Furthermore, the upcoming Gas-to-Energy project is expected to significantly boost the sector in 2025 due to the anticipated lower cost of power. With reduced energy costs, production in the forestry sector is expected to increase, particularly in the value-added wood products segment. Lower operational costs will make Guyanese wood products more competitive.

While forestry is vital for the economy, Guyana’s forests are also crucial in the global fight against climate change. More than 99% of Guyana’s forests remain intact, storing over 19 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The country boasts one of the lowest deforestation rates in the world. From 2010 to 2020, Guyana’s average deforestation rate was 0.059%, compared to the global tropical deforestation rate of approximately 0.533%, making Guyana’s rate about 9 times lower.

Guyana employs numerous sustainable forestry practices to maintain the quality of its forests, based on principles outlined in the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

These include exemplary codes of practice for timber harvesting, the implementation of reduced-impact logging techniques, strong forest governance and legality practices, and careful pre- and post-harvesting planning. Guyana’s forestry sector is therefore not just an economic driver, but one that shows the government and its people are conscious of the need for sustainable management at every juncture.