DESTRUCCIÓN DE LA SIERRA DE BAHORUCO
The entire broadleaf and cloud forest band of southern Sierra de Bahoruco National Park is severely degraded by illegal and unsustainable farming activities. These activities are incompatible with the park´s main objetive, which is to preserve its natural ecosystems. In particular, we are worried about the plantations established since 2008 in the Los Arroyos sector of the Park, as it is a permanent, industrial scale system. There, a handful of entrepreneurs from outside the area have established extensive plantations, particularly of Hass avocados destined for the export market to the United States and Europe.Toda la banda sur de bosques húmedos y nublados del Parque Nacional Sierra de Bahoruco eson el blanco de una agresiva actividad agrícola.
This system has been facilitated by the abundant and cheap labor supplied by Haitian day workers crossing the border daily from Haitian nearby settlements. Other illegal farmin areas are around the villages of Las Mercedes and La Altagracia, at lower elevations. There, short cycle crops (beans, maize, pigeon peas, pumpkin, etc) prevail, enabled by sharecropping arrangements between Dominicans who claim property of the Parks land and Haitian families. The lack of compensation and comunication from Dominican authorities and those occupying the land at the time of the Parks designation further complicates this situation.
The importance of cloud and broadleaf forests in Sierra de Bahoruco where industrial farming is taking place is very high. These forests are essential for water capture services for Pedernales River, which supplies water and electricity to over 30 thousand on both sides of the Dominican Republic – Haiti border.
Furthermore, these ecosystems serve as a refuge to most of the endemic, migratory and restrictred range spcies for Hispaniola., many also globally threatened with extinction. It is a very narrow forest band (less than 1km wide) located between 800 and 1800 meters in elevation, and is severely fragmented and destroyed.
The above described sitution worsened on July 2018 with the creation of new access roads within the park. The purpose was to expand and intensify farming in this area.