The South Suriname Conservation Corridor (SSCC)

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. 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.

Duration
June 2013 – June 2015

Project activities              

  1. Engage in discussions with communities about what the global term ‘conservation’ means to them, how they describe their relationship with the environment and how they foresee their sustainable future by conducting the following steps with the help of interactive tools provided by the team:
      a. Community leaders lead local discussions about sustainable development in their own languages with the help of a puzzle
      b. Communities map different habitats and indicate the whereabouts of self-defined important areas including villages, hunting and fishing areas, agricultural lands, locations  for extraction of traditional medicines, logging, cemeteries and cultural activities with the help of GPS maps and stickers
      c. Villagers share their fears and name the most important threats to their traditional ways of living with the help of the interactive tools (puzzle and dice)

  2. Discussions with representatives of the more-populated coastal area from civil society, the business community and government in order to create common ground for indigenous views and the emphasizing of the importance of preservation.

  3. Conducting scientific research to identify which are the critical headwaters; to better understand freshwater production, distribution and demand as well as the threats of land use and climate change on Suriname’s fresh water system. 

  4. Performing legal analysis on the most viable management option for protection of south Suriname. 

  5. Designing a financial mechanism, which includes benefit sharing (for the local communities of south Suriname especially) in order to enable sustainable and long-term protection of South Suriname.

  6. Raise awareness among the general public and the international community about the importance of South Suriname regarding freshwater as well as its pristine nature and biodiversity.


Partners
Conservation International Suriname (CI-S)
Amazon Conservation Team (ACT)
World Wildlife Fund (WWF)          
Government of Suriname by the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Forest Manangement (Ministerie van RGB) 


Deliverables / Anticipated Outputs         
The ultimate goal is to make a compelling case to have approximately 7.2 million hectares of pristine tropical forest and the headwaters of Suriname’s major rivers protected.  This has an importance in its own right but also acts as a conservation corridor which links up with protected areas in neighbouring Brazil and French Guyana. Moreover, the project team is developing a financial mechanism to allow this long-term conservation effort to be self-supporting.