The South Suriname Conservation Corridor (SSCC)

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.

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.

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.

Our projects

From our blog

  • During one of our visits to Tepu I had the privilege to interact with the local village people and I once again noticed how different our lives in the city are compared to the villagers of Tepu and probably the other villages in the south of Suriname.

    After a long day of engagement, the engagement team and the CIS team where at the water’s edge taking our regular afternoon dip in the cold but pleasant water of the Upper-Tapanahony river.
    I watched a young girl of about 11 years named Rauna Akelainu threw a fishing line in the water, about 5 meters out. See threw the line several times, and she obviously never gave it a thought a fish might actually bite.

    To her surprise a fish did bite and she almost started to jump in the air out of happiness. Shortly after that she figured out that she didn’t know what to do with the fish.
    So she called her mother, who replied to her that she is the one who caught the fish and this means apparently she needs to kill it herself to be able to cook it.
    That is when the young girl almost panicked. She tried killing the fish, but just could not hit it the right way. Eventually my colleague there with me at the time, Sirito Aloema helped her to kill the fish, by hitting it a few times with a big rock.

    I got the opportunity to remove the scales of the fish together with this brave young girl, to me actually a brave young lady!!
    This seems all a bit brutal (to the fish), but this is what I learned from the way people of Tepu live:
    1. When you are able to catch a fish you have to kill it yourself in order to eat it.
    2. When you catch a fish you don’t get the chance to waste it; you eat what you catch and the other way around you catch what you eat.
    Another time I witnessed a five year old girl bathe her one year old brother in the river.
    They are given the tools and skills of their culture to sustain themselves at a very early age.
    How different this is from living in an urban environment. I am a mother of a six and three year old, both girls. I don’t think that my kids who are growing up in the city of Paramaribo, at that age would even know what to do with a life fish if they’d ever caught one!