SANTO DOMINGO – The Dominican Republic plans to plant 5 million trees along the border with Haiti as part of a project to fight deforestation, environmental officials said.
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 guayacan 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, Dajabon and Santiago Rodriguez 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 Fernandez 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,” Fernandez Mirabal said.
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, 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. EFE