Members of the Plan Yaque team walking in the forest around La Pelada. Photo Credit: Nayeli Cruz

Environment Dominican Republic28. February 2024

Within a Decade, 20% of This Territory Has Been Regreened!

Over a decade, the Dominican Republic managed to regreen a fifth of its territory by reforesting farms, thus improving land and water without jeopardizing its economy.

“It is an example that soil degradation can be reversed without it implying economic decline, as many would have us believe,” explains Andrea Meza, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. “The most cost-effective thing is to have a healthy environment and make nature a great friend and ally”.

In 2009, the government launched the Plan for the Development of the Yaque del Norte River Basin – also known as the Plan Yaque – an NGO overseeing 30 organizations from the state and civil society alike to protect the basin of the largest river in the country. The goal was to convince landowners that reforesting their farms benefited them. Indeed, irregular access to water became the infallible argument to persuade them. Between the rainy season and summer, the river should gain or lose 20% of its water, but this percentage could reach up to 80% due to the lack of forest cover. Trees retain rainfall like a sponge in a biodiverse ecosystem and dose it out little by little. After a decade of intense work, the Dominican Republic restored 18% of the land that had been degraded, which is the second largest land recovery in Latin America after Haiti. In 2010, the Dominican Republic’s gross domestic product was $54 billion; in 2019, it reached $89 billion.

El País

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