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Dominican Republic preserves its biodiversity

The Dominican Republic is known for lush, tropical beaches, its food and its rich culture. And for conservation ? Not so much. But now, buoyed by an elusive songbird that makes its way to the Caribbean country each year, the Dominican Republic is embarking on an ambitious conservation effort to preserve what many say is a global biodiversity hotspot that is home to dozens of endangered species.

A reserve is taking shape in a lushly overgrown former cattle ranch measuring about 1,000 acres, at the edge of a deep green forest in the Dominican Republic’s rugged northeast. Conservation-minded Dominican and U.S. investors have acquired the plot as a pilot project.

Tentatively known as the Reserva Privada Zorzal, the government sees the reserve as a potential example, showing that such land can be put to better uses than burning down the trees to convert it to pasture, a typical approach in this Caribbean country with only about 40 percent of its forest cover left. Neighboring Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola, has virtually none of its forest standing.

Jesus Moreno, a Dominican businessman whose family is partially funding the reserve, says the portion of the property where most of the trees have already been removed is well-suited to low-intensity, organic agriculture. He plans to grow macadamia trees and cacao, the raw material in chocolate, while allowing the forest to regenerate, in perpetuity, on three-fourths of the holding. The country’s environment minister is scheduled to inaugurate the reserve project on June 5.

I am not trying to make this into a big business and make a lot of money, said Moreno, whose family’s ventures also include a nursery that grows macadamia trees and the country’s only factory processing the nuts. We are trying to create a model and break the cycle of destruction.

Read the full article on Dominican Republic Live

Category: DR News |

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Last updated December 8, 2016 at 12:39 AM
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