An Investigation into the Perspectives of Surama and Fairview Amerindian Communities on Iwokrama’s FSC Certification
Uma Madray, Dr. Patrick Williams and Jewel Liddell
Published: October 4, 2021 • Book of Abstracts – Student Research, Volume 2 [Forthcoming]
Uma Madray ✉️ Department of Environmental Studies, Faculty and Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Guyana – Turkeyen Campus, Greater Georgetown.
Dr. Patrick Williams World Wildlife Fund Guianas, 121 Durban St, Georgetown, Guyana
Jewel Liddell Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, 77 High Street Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana
This research investigated the perspective of Amerindian communities on Iwokrama’s Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification, which was completed in 2007. The communities under study were Surama (situated adjacent to Iwokrama) and Fairview (situated within the Iwokrama Forest) in the North Rupununi District, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region IX). Data was gathered through in-depth interviews with senior community members and a census survey. Questionnaires were administered to all 90 households that all respondents indicated linkages between Iwokrama and the two communities and involvement in the certification process, but as Fairview is within the immediate boundaries of Iwokrama, it appears to have received higher levels of consultation in the FSC process. While there was 100% involvement in the FSC initial process across both communities, 96% of respondents indicated there was need for continued involvement of community members. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of respondents supported the Iwokrama’s FSC certification, mainly as it aided forest conservation and provided more opportunities to their communities. From their perspectives, Iwokrama’s FSC certification impacted positively (87%) on their communities and provided benefits such as social and economic enhancement. However, 2% of respondents perceived the programme to be detrimental to their livelihoods. Highlighted challenges included restrictions from harvesting trees for farming activities, loss of livelihoods, loss of tree species, and large scale logging. Some efforts were made to resolve challenges; for instance, meetings between Fairview and Iwokrama led to adjustments about restrictions on harvesting mature trees. While the communities were generally satisfied with some actions taken to address concerns, they maintained that additional monitoring mechanisms should be implemented. It was recommended that Iwokrama can explore the development of a user-friendly framework or strategy for continuing consultation with these communities.
Keywords: FSC certification, community perspective, Iwokrama