Illegal farm roads menace major national park, ecologists warn
Santo Domingo.- The environmental organization Grupo Jaragua on Tues. said that just months after the outgoing Environment Minister announced the recovery of the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park today that protected area faces a serious threat from roads built to farm near the town of Pedernales (southwest).
According to the Group, the roads would benefit the illegal agribusinesses within the protected area.
It said on Monday, when the authorities ordered a bulldozer to stop opening a dirt road on the park’s southern slope, the promoter of the work called someone with Government connections, and alleged partner in an onion plantation of hundreds of hectares inside the park.
“After two calls to deputy ministers of the Environment Ministry, it was clear which side was the political power in this conflict,” said the Group, and deplored that the work was authorized to continue.
Pedernales Ecological Society president Fausto Gomera regrets as “very painful ” that this occurs “just days after president Danilo Medina’s surprise visit to Pedernales, in which he repeated several times that he was only going to support the farmers who were outside the park. ”
“The farmers have been building these roads little by little through the park’s cloud forest, expanding the extension of agriculture at the expense of one of the forests that produce the most water and biodiversity on the island,” the Group said.
In the press release the organization added that all of Pedernales’ drinking water comes from the basin of the rivers born in the area.