Local March 8, 2016 | 7:37 am

Dominican Republic’s protected areas are ‘under assault’

Santo Domingo.- Prominent environmentalist Luis Carvajal onMonday said agriculture’s expanding frontier,tourism projects, private construction and livestock farms in protected areas havedevastated Dominican Republic’s ecosystems.

He said the country’s protected areas are under "anassault" by the so-called "Forest Management Plans," often authorizedby Environment Ministry permits. "90% management plans are illegal, andadministrative, often awarded without scientific criteria, without rigorousevaluation, and issued through employees in those areas."

As an example of what’s occurring in the Central Mountains Carvajalcited Valle Nuevo, Constanza, which he affirms sustains 14 dams with five morebeing planned, although deterioration through uncontrolled tourism and lack ofurban planning for private constructions exert pressure on the protected area.

Carvajal said forests are being cleated to expand livestock,with locals getting paid to burn the areas, in addition to what he affirms is arising number of sawmills for lumbering. "Management plans are looting thenatural forest, and is a gloomy picture in Constanza, and equally, San Jose delas Matas and all the mountains of the country."

Interviewed on Radio Popular, the member of the Academy ofSciences said Valle Nuevo Scientific Reserve, now national park, is an importantsource which supplies water to most regions of the country.

Carvajal, coordinator of the UASD Environmental Commission saidthe area’s water sources feed 14 large and medium dams, although the “overwhelmingdeforestation threatens the sustainability of hydropower.”

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