Introduction of low-impact clearing operations and trials of planted forests to produce wood for timber and biomass in French Guiana - Ethical Forest Planting

The project aims to study and implement sustainable management sequences for planted forests focusing on four commercial species (two native and two exotic).
Plot of two-year-old teak trees with a legume ground cover (Stylosanthes guianensis) © E-A. Nicolini, CIRAD
Plot of two-year-old teak trees with a legume ground cover (Stylosanthes guianensis) © E-A. Nicolini, CIRAD

Plot of two-year-old teak trees with a legume ground cover (Stylosanthes guianensis) © E-A. Nicolini, CIRAD

Issues

The population of French Guiana is expected to double by 2030, which will mean increased demand for electricity and construction materials, and subsequently more logging in natural forests. However, the forests of French Guiana are seen as vulnerable to climate change. There are plans to solve this, notably by means of mixed forestry, combining timber and “biomass” logging operations. Since there is no guarantee that such systems will be sustainable and there are several commercial species suitable for planting in the region, there are now plans to set up planted forests in French Guiana.

Description

The initiative is backing up an ERDF project, ForesTreeCulture 2 (2017-2020), which set out to implement industrial-scale management sequences in French Guiana, in line with a sustainable plan for future planted forests. The plan focuses on four commercial species, two native (bagassa, Ecuador laurel) and two exotic (niangon, teak). It involves setting up a planted forest on around six hectares, and benefits from the progress made and results obtained at the two other sites set up by the ForesTreeCulture 2 project.

Five main activities are under way:

  • Planning various planting schemes for four commercial species;
  • Determining the geographical origins best suited to French Guiana; 
  • Optimizing seedling production; 
  • Developing an operational tool to monitor and manage soil quality; 
  • Observing the impact of the different protocols on seedling survival and growth.

Expected impacts

  • Industrial planted forests will offer real prospects for the wood production sector in French Guiana, which is currently in a dead end for economic and environmental reasons; 
  • This will relieve the current pressure on French Guiana’s natural forests; 
  • The service wood produced in planted forests will cover most of the department’s timber and fuelwood requirements; 
  • The value chain will be structured around (1) high added-value products from natural forests, primarily for civil engineering structures, and (2) service wood for routine use, from planted forests.

Contract partners

  • ONF; 
  • INRAE; 
  • Forestière Amazonia (SFA).