It was announced yesterday by environmental officials that the Dominican Republic plans to plant 5 million trees along the border with Haiti as part of a project to fight deforestation. The project, which will cost about 35 million pesos (some $972,200), will be carried out under an agreement signed by the Environment Ministry and the General Border Development Administration, or DGDF. Pine, mahogany, mango, oak, tamarind and guayacán trees will be planted in the border region, the Environment Ministry said.
The agreement will be implemented via the Quisqueya Verde reforestation program in Montecristi, Dajabón and Santiago Rodríguez provinces in the northwestern part of the country, as well as in the southwestern provinces of Elias Piña, Bahoruco, Independencia and Pedernales. Natural resources “are a national security” issue because “not just forests but also transborder waters” are at stake, Environment Minister Jaime David Fernández Mirabal said. “The production of charcoal is a threat to all of us, but when families join reforestation brigades you create green jobs, on the one hand, and reduce the pressure on resources, on the other,” Fernández Mirabal added. Trees have been cut in large numbers in the border to make the charcoal used for cooking by Haitians and Dominicans in the border region. Just a few weeks ago, Dominican forces moved to evict Haitians who had cleared land on protected Dominican forest land because they lack arable land on the Haitian side of the border (see our post on Haitian Protesters against Dominican Environmentalists).
The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, with Haiti in the western portion. Heavy rains from tropical storms and hurricanes have caused mudslides linked to deforestation in the area, killing thousands of people in Haiti in recent years. Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country, is prone to devastating mudslides and flooding because of man-made deforestation that has reduced the amount of the nation covered by forest from 25 percent some 50 years ago to just 2 percent today, while the neighboring Dominican Republic retains a lush tree canopy.
Story reported by the Latin American Herald Tribune at http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=337394&CategoryId=14092
Photo: Reuters. A Haitian boy looks at the fence while Dominican Republic’s soldiers arrive at the border with Haiti in Jimani October 5, 2007. The Dominican Republic has deployed soldiers to support the security at the border and they hope to add 1500 soldiers during 2008 to strengthen border control, local media reported.