Economy June 22, 2016 | 5:01 pm

Icon national park withers as Dominican Republic fails to enforce the law

Santo Domingo.- In response to a complaint by a group of environmentalistsover the deforestation in the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park, the Departmentof Environmental Affairs CAFTA-DR on Wednesday said it will seek DominicanRepublic’s response to the situation.

In a letter dated May 27, Secretariat general coordinator JorgeGuzman says the missive submitted by Carlina Duran and Chino Sing, asrepresentatives of the group SOS Ambiente RD, complies with the criteria.

As part of their work as environmentalist, Duran and Singsent a letter to the Secretariat on November 2015 denouncing Dominican Republic’sfailure to enforce its environmental legislation regarding Sierra de Bahoruco.

The missive notes that at least 34 square kilometers of theSierra de Bahoruco National Park have been cleared, primarily for illegal agriculture.It established that the destruction covers especially broadleaf forests,including cloud forests.

"This greatly undermines the sustainability of thisNational Park, since the soil layer in most of its territory is very thin, theslopes are often steep (…) resulting in that nothing can grow after a fewcrops and storms and heavy rains that deplete the soil," the complainantssaid.

To empower the Secretary of Environmental Affairs CAFTA-DR,support information including geo-referenced maps, photographs, interviews,communications and studies by the Jaragua Group, and the first audiovisualdocumentary "Parks of Paper: Sierra de Bahoruco," was presented bythe Group.

Sing said the denunciation of deforestation at Sierra deBahoruco is being going on for more than 10 years ago, "and Environmenthad not done anything."

Once the Secretariat admitted the communication, it proceededto formally request a response from the Dominican Republic, which must besubmitted within 45 days from the reception of the request, as the entity’s workingprocedures stipulate.