A Forest Sector Operator (FSO) is a natural person or body corporate registered with and approved by the Guyana Forestry Commission to conduct forestry operation(s). The natural person or body corporate may be defined as a sole trader(s), and/or those registered under the Business Registration Act, the Partnership Act, the Companies Act, the Friendly Societies Act or Co-operative Societies Act.
FSOs are involved in the following operation types: timber harvesting and the import, transport, process, trade, and export of timber products.
A Third party is a natural person, or body corporate that has a legal agreement with the FSO to conduct commercial forestry operations within the boundaries of the approved area. The FSO, who is registered with GFC is responsible for ensuring that the third party complies with the requirements of the Legality Definition (LD).
FSOs are categorized based on:
Areas larger than 8097 hectares are categorized by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) as large concessions. FSOs of Large Concessions must have a State Forest Authorization granted by the GFC. These State Forest Authorizations can be either a Forest Concession Agreement or an Exploratory Permit. Forest Concession Agreements can either be Timber Sales Agreements or Wood Cutting Leases, which are granted for up to 40 years or subject to conditional renewal. A Forest Concession Agreement is generally only issued after the FSO has obtained an Exploratory Permit.
Areas of 8097 hectares or less are categorized by the GFC as small concessions. FSOs of Small Concessions must have a State Forest Authorization that can either be a State Forest Permission or a Community Forest Management Agreement. These State Forest Authorizations are granted by the GFC for up to three years, subject to conditional renewal.
Section 2 of the Amerindian Act defines Village or Amerindian Village as “a group of Amerindians occupying or using Village lands” and Village lands as “lands owned communally by a Village” under an Absolute Grant or Certificate of title granted to the Village Council (VC) to hold for the benefit of the Village. An Amerindian Village becomes an FSO when it enters into a contract with the GFC to conduct commercial harvesting within the boundaries of the Amerindian Village.
Section 2 of the Forests Act 2009 defines Private Lands as “land that is neither public land nor village land”, and which are legally held by either an individual(s) or body corporate by Registered title, Transport or Absolute Grant. A private landowner becomes an FSO when it enters into a contract with the GFC to conduct commercial harvesting within the boundaries of the private land.
State Lands in Conversion
Timber products can be salvaged from State lands that are approved by the relevant Ministries and Government Agencies to be converted to non-forest land uses under the following authorizations:
- Mining Licence or Permit – A Mining licence or permit is issued by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) over an area within State Lands to prospect, mine for, take and appropriate any minerals. A holder of a mining licence or permit becomes an FSO when authorized by the GFC to salvage timber products within the boundaries of that area.
- Leases – a lease is issued by the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) over an area within State Lands for the purposes of agriculture or other activities. A holder of a lease becomes an FSO when authorized by the GFC to salvage timber products within the boundaries of that area.
- Infrastructure (roads, hydropower plant, dams, etc.) – The Office of the President (OP) grants approval to construct hydropower plants while the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) grants authorizations to conduct all other infrastructural works, such as roads and bridges. A holder of an infrastructural approval becomes an FSO.