The South of Suriname is part of the Amazone Rainforest. It holds a considerable amount of natural wealth in terms of biodiversity, freshwater resources and cultural heritage. However, the isolation that has protected Suriname’s southern unique ecosystem is now threatened by high commodity prices which have encouraged the spread of small-scale activities, such as gold-mining, logging, hunting, poaching and other potentially unsustainable activities.
South Suriname Conservation Corridor
When undertaken without due care, these activities can degrade water quality within the region’s extensive system of waterways and reservoirs which could harm the South of Suriname’s unique ecosystems and could cause great impact on Indigenous communities living in the south who rely heavily on the natural resources for hunting, fishing and other traditional purposes such as medicinal plants.
Also, as is the case in many countries around the world, long-term sustainable economic development in Suriname is threatened by climate change. Availability of food, freshwater resources and habitat vulnerability are among the most prominent issues related to climate change and likely to have disproportionally greater impact on Indigenous communities living in the south. For these reasons the project called South Suriname Conservation Corridor (SSCC) was started.
After an extensive engagement process with the indigenous communities in South Suriname, the indigenous leaders of the region signed an Indigenous Declaration for the protection of 7.2 million hectares of pristine tropical forest. This area is about 40% of Suriname’s land surface and approximately half the size of the state Pennsylvania and five times the size of the Grand Canyon. Moreover, almost half of Suriname’s headwaters spring from this southern part of the country, which contribute in great part to Suriname’s ranking as a freshwater rich country with 10% of world’s freshwater in rivers. By signing the document, the indigenous communities declared the Southern Suriname Conservation Corridor (SSCC) on March 5, 2015.
Sara O.I. Ramirez-Gomez, Greg Brown, Pita A. Verweij, René Boot, Participatory mapping to identify indigenous community use zones: Implications for conservation planning in southern Suriname, Journal for Nature Conservation, Volume 29, 2016, Pages 69-78, ISSN 1617-1381, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2015.11.004.