The Poverty / Conservation Equation

In countries like the Dominican Republic, conservationists can’t afford to look past poverty.

By Marion Lloyd / Photographs by Carolyn Drake

full article. . . 

Dominican Republic

Deforestation in the Dominican Republic’s highlands has washed topsoil into Samaná Bay, choking the banks with mud and degrading one of the most important estuaries in the Caribbean.
Photo © Carolyn Drake

Beekeeper Rafael Severino

“As I sleep, the bees are working for me,” says Rafael Severino, who gave up fishing for more lucrative work as a beekeeper near the Dominican Republic’s Parque Nacional del Este.
Photo © Carolyn Drake

Strawberry seedlings


One Dominican community has flourished, in part, by shifting away from traditional slash-and-burn agriculture. Los Dajaos now uses a low-tech lab with glass milk bottles to grow strawberry seedlings and other crops (top) and raises rabbits as an environmentally friendly
alternative to cattle (bottom).
Photos © Carolyn Drake

Coffee grower

Harvesting coffee, which is grown beneath the forest’s canopy, helps Merilyo Dominguez make a living while providing important habitat for birds and other animals.
Photo © Carolyn Drake

Fisherman from Boca de Yuma

Fishery near Parque Nacional del Este

Samaná Bay

The Conservancy is working with fishermen from Boca de Yuma (TOP) to create “no-catch” seasons that will help restore fisheries near Parque Nacional del Este (MIDDLE). A decade ago, fishermen could cast their lines from the shore of Samaná Bay, but today even reaching the water requires work (BOTTOM). Deforestation has washed sediments down rivers and choked
parts of the bay.
Photos © Carolyn Drake

Greenhouses in the community of Los Dajaos

Nestled in the highland forests of the Dominican Republic, the community of Los Dajaos has used greenhouses,
drip irrigation and other sustainable agricultural techniques to reduce by
70 percent the amount of land needed
for cultivation.
Photo © Carolyn Drake

Restored waterway

Reforestation efforts, aided by the Conservancy, have helped restore waterways in this crucial watershed.
Photo © Carolyn Drake

Beekeepers with honeycomb

While providing their keepers with a honeycomb harvest, bees also help enrich many ecosystems by pollinating crops and other plants.
Photo © Carolyn Drake

:: Listen to an archive of this audio chat

Listen as Andrés Ferrer, Country Director for The Nature Conservancy in the Dominican Republic, discusses how he’s been leading efforts in his country to bridge the divide between poverty alleviation and environmental protection.

Listen to the web chat now! (.ram, 5.88 MB)

Read a transcript of the chat.

Framing the Debate


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