The rainforest is a place you have to see in person. It’s impossible to understand the vastness and beauty of it without walking through it and breathing in the fresh air. This summer I had the pleasure of flying from Georgetown, Guyana, into the heart of Iwokrama. The Iwokrama rainforest comprises 371,000 hectares of forest (1.6% of Guyana’s landmass and 2% of Guyana forests).
It was established in 1996 to manage the forest area, following an international agreement between the Guyana Government and the Commonwealth Secretariat. The agreement gave the Centre the mandate to “promote the conservation and the sustainable and equitable use of tropical rainforests in a manner that will lead to lasting ecological, economic and social benefits to the people of Guyana and to the world in general”. In short, the Centre has the task to test the proposition that conservation, environmental balance and sustainable economic activity are mutually reinforcing – that it is possible to use a forest without losing it.
Iwokrama is a stunningly beautiful place that undertakes scientific research and support local village communities. Most interestingly, it’s a place that offers a unique ecotourism experience for the global market.
After my time in the rainforest came to an end, I ended up back in Georgetown to enjoy some of the local restaurants. Guyana is definitely a place worth visiting with the friendliest of people.