Massive Planned Deforestation in Amazon of Suriname: MAAP #203

January 16, 2024

The environmental news platform Mongabay recently reported that, according to their review of official documents, the government of Suriname is preparing to clear large tracts of Amazon rainforest for agriculture.

This news is alarming because large-scale agriculture is not historically or currently a deforestation driver in Suriname, so these new plots would likely trigger unprecedented forest loss in one of the world’s few remaining countries dominated by primary rainforest.

Intertwined with this issue are additional reports indicating that groups of Mennonites are planning to relocate to Suriname. This news has also raised alarms given the extensive deforestation caused by Mennonites in the Amazon regions of both Peru and Bolivia.

Here, in MAAP #203, we build off of Mongabay’s initial analysis to estimate the impact of these proposed agriculture plots.

First, we estimate 467,000 hectares (1,15 million acres) in the proposed new agricultural plots to both the Ministry of Agriculture and Foundations backed by private land developers. Additional analysis of the government documents indicates that the actual total could rise to 560,000 hectares.

Next, we estimate 451,000 hectares of threatened primary forest in the proposed agriculture plots.

This would result in a shocking amount of primary forest loss for a country that has experienced an average annual deforestation of just 6,560 hectares over the past 21 years.

Read the full report here.