Guyana Spotlight: Iwokrama Rain Forest

April 2019

ExxonMobil’s commitment to sustainable operations in Guyana goes beyond the oil and gas industry. This includes developing a deep understanding of local culture and the natural resources that make up the identity of the countries where we operate.

Home to unique flora and fauna found only in Guyana, the Iwokrama Forest is almost a million acres of protected wilderness preserve and one of the four remaining intact tropical forests in the world. The area, central to Guyana’s national identity, was pledged to the international community in 1989 and has since become a global case study for sustainable rainforest development.

For thousands of years the indigenous Makushi people have lived and worked in this lush expanse of beauty which shares its name with the nearby 1,000 meter-high Iwokrama Mountains.

The Iwokrama River Lodge and Research Centre serves as the operational hub for Iwokrama

The forest boasts an array of birds, plants and wildlife unparalleled elsewhere in the world and is a prime spot for sightings of the majestic ocelot or the rare margay wild cat.

Iwokrama provides a significant amount of the world’s fresh water and links to the stabilization of climate and pollination, making it an essential contributor to global sustainability.

In 2017, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd. (EEPGL) contributed a $300,000 grant to the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development. The purpose of the grant is to support the Centre’s mission of developing sustainable use activities, conservation and evaluation.

The Centre also seeks to integrate the knowledge of indigenous communities, whose awareness comes from living and managing their own lands while sustaining the forest, in addition to the knowledge of scientists and conservationists. The grant has allowed for research in climate change, sustainable logging and discoveries of one new plant and five new animal species.

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