May 19, 2024

One-fifth of the Dominican Republic has been regreened

The Dominican Republic is famous for its picturesque nature.Image: Shutterstock

Laura Wagner/Watson.de

We all know the images of forests burning in the Amazon. Deforestation has been going on for decades: rainforests are being cut down primarily to grow soybeans, which our animals feed, but also for palm oil, wood, paper and mineral resources.

Environmental organizations have long been calling: “Deforestation must stop.” Because rainforests are largely responsible for our global climate.

Success after ten years of work: an environmental project that plants trees

Last year, for the first time in decades, less rainforest was cut down than in previous years, but the rainforest is still moving toward a critical point: If more forest is cut down, the ecosystem could flip — turning into desert.

The situation in the Dominican Republic seems better, where «El Pais», according to the largest daily newspaper in Spain. Within ten years, one-fifth of the previously cleared area had been revegetated.

The environmental project is responsible, among other things, for this success Yak plan. This aims to promote the sustainable development of the Yaqui del Norte River Basin. At 296 kilometers long, the Yaqui del Norte is the longest river in the Caribbean country.

Consequently World Nature FundAn international foundation for the environment and nature, many forests were cut down in some areas of the Dominican Republic, especially in the 1980s, due to the cultivation of sugar cane and the extraction of gold, nickel and silver.

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Vacationers and growing populations threaten biodiversity

According to El País newspaper, population growth and uncontrolled tourism also threaten the preservation of biodiversity in the Dominican Republic.

Yaque del Norte River in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic

Yaqui del Norte River in Jarapacoa, Dominican Republic.Image: www.imago-images.de

The project convinced landowners to plant trees on their properties

Early in 2009, engineer Humberto Chico decided to reforest the watershed area around the Yaqui del Norte River. “It was clear. The mountains remained bare because the timber was sold and people raised livestock or grew crops. We had to do something,” he told El Pais newspaper.

Thirty governmental and non-governmental organizations are participating in the project. Their plan is to convince landowners that reforestation benefits them, too. Several teams travel through the region, visiting one farm after another.

Your message to landowners and farmers: Plant trees. Because this will guarantee their water supply within 10 to 15 years.

Salto Baiguat Waterfall, Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, model released, 4339767.jpg, Dominican Republic, Dominicana, Caribbean, island, Hispaniola, waterfall, autumn, water, flowing, mountains, jara...

Salto de Baiguate waterfall near Jarabacoa.Image: www.imago-images.de

Because water in the Caribbean country is becoming increasingly scarce. Chico says the river loses 80 percent of its water between the rainy season and summer. Longer dry spells that alternate with periods of heavy rainfall are to blame. But because the soil is so dry, it can't absorb all the rain. It is supposed to help the forests and ecosystems working here because they are able to capture and store rain. Numerous droughts and heavy rains are all consequences of the climate crisis.

20 percent of the area is green again

Locals also seem to have realized the problems the lost forest brings. After ten years of intensive work through the Plan Yaqui project and the cooperation of landowners, approximately 20 percent of the areas have been replanted.

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Other environmental projects have also been dedicated to reforestation in the Dominican Republic, including Welthungerhilfe. Their common goal: to develop and empower forests where they were once cleared. For a better future and more food security.

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