FEATURE STORY March 21, 2019

In the Dominican Republic, Sustainable Forest Management Is Paying off for Local Farmers

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Photo Credit: Smelin Reyes


This story is part of a month-long series focusing on adaptation and resilience. Around the world, climate change is already impacting lives and livelihoods, especially in the world’s poorest countries. The World Bank Group is committed to boosting support for adaptation and resilience, including through its first-of-a-kind Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Forest producers in the Dominican Republic are implementing sustainable silvicultural practices that boost incomes for small and medium businesses.
  • With support from the government and the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, foresters are also focused on planting endemic and native species, fire prevention, pest management, and erosion control.
  • Local efforts like these underpin a national-level initiative that focuses on decreasing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and helping the country become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

 

If the world is to confront the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change while meeting the demands of a rapidly-growing global population, it is vital that we find the balance between conserving and regenerating forest areas with economic growth for poverty reduction.

“Why is he planting mahogany and pine seedlings side by side?” Ramos remembers hearing from his neighbors. “They started calling my farm a sancocho farm,” he laughs, referring to a traditional soup in DR consisting of different meats and root vegetables.

Ramos knew exactly what he was doing. His sancocho planting style was in fact sustainable forest management in practice. It’s an approach that now yields Ramos up to 3.5 million pesos (about US$70,000) per year, and is also supporting DR’s national efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (often referred to as REDD+).

 

It’s all in the right tree mix

Pine trees help to repel pests of the mahogany tree. And the mara trees Ramos planted throughout his farm are helping to reduce soil erosion and preserve aquifers in the area.

He cuts down trees when they reach maturity, and clears out smaller trees that are not thriving to allow for the stronger trees to reach their full potential. This thinning is done according to a predetermined schedule, so that his plantation is always growing to its maximum potential.

"Now, when other farmers come here, and they see the trucks loaded with my wood for sale, they understand how well a sustainable approach can work, and they leave convinced that sustainable forest management really is the best, long-term way to make money.”

As a founding member of Restauración’s Association of Sustainable Forest Development (ASODEFOREST), Ramos says he has seen the enthusiasm grow for this approach to forest management. The organization now brings together more than 200 forest producers in the area that practice sustainable silvicultural management, through the promotion of endemic and native forest species, environmental commitment, fire prevention, pest management, erosion control and natural regeneration of the forest.


"Now, when other farmers come here, and they see the trucks loaded with my wood for sale, they understand how well a sustainable approach can work, and they leave convinced that sustainable forest management really is the best, long-term way to make money."
Enelsito Ramos

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Photo Credit: Smelin Reyes


ASODEFOREST is one of the nine executing entities that make up the DR’s large-scale initiative to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The program is the result of extensive work by the government over the past four years with the support of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and sets the stage for results-based payments for verified emissions reductions in the forest and broader land use sectors.

This sustainable forest management approach championed by farmers like Ramos has attracted financial support from the German Government’s Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) that funds REDD+ efforts across the developing world, as well as support from DR’s Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources that provided Ramos with his initial seedlings before he had his own nursery.

Ramos is one of DR’s pioneers in the implementation of the sustainable forest management model. It’s a great example of how grassroots forestry efforts are linking up with our global efforts to mitigate climate change.

 



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