Dominican Air Force Leads Reforestation Efforts

Dominican Air Force Leads Reforestation Efforts

By Dialogo
January 28, 2015




A platoon of the Dominican Republic’s Air Force (FARD) is executing an important mission not in the air, but on the ground – by working with the Ministry of the Environment and volunteer organizations on a reforestation project along a major highway.

Since December 14, members of the Air Force have performed reforestation work alongside the Nordeste Highway, from the Las Américas Highway to the province of Samaná and near the San Isidro Air Base.

The project stretches over some 100 kilometers of highway, where travelers along that important road can see the saplings of calla lilies, cedar, mahogany, oak, acacia, azteca, fiddlewood, olive, rain, beech, ceiba, and other trees that Air Force personnel and other volunteers have planted along both sides of the road.

The Military’s history of protecting the environment


Preserving and protecting the environment has long been part of the mission of the Dominican Republic’s Armed Forces.

“Historically, in the Dominican Republic, the Armed Forces, above all the National Army, has been closely tied to preserving the forests and the country’s natural resources,” said Daniel Pou, an associate researcher at the country’s Latin American College of Social Sciences (FLASCO).

Troops protect the environment by deploying to remote areas of the different mountainous and forested areas of the country, he said. But this practice isn’t recent. The Armed Forces have conducted preservation efforts periodically over the past 15 years. They have taken an active role in preserving tropical trees by maintaining healthy forest areas to help preserve river beds.

“This has its origin, before the Ministry of the Environment existed, with the Reforestation Department, an agency under the Armed Forces Ministry. This has led to the National Army having a great deal of experience with reforestation.”

The current reforestation effort is led by Colonel Francisco Gómez Gómez, an Air Force parachutist. The goal of the initiative is to plant enough trees to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and to improve the quality of life for people who travel along Las Américas Highway, the colonel explained, according to a FARD press release.

Air Force members, Ministry of the Environment workers and civilian volunteers have planted more than one million trees during the current reforestation effort, for which the Ministry of the Environment provides the seeds and saplings.

This sensitive task has helped preserve the tributaries of the Biodiversity Park, where there are three important waterways whose beds are protected by a healthy population of trees: the Yabacao, Cachón and Salto de Socoa Rivers.

Reforestation plans throughout the country


The Dominican federal government sponsors and encourages other reforestation projects carried out by the Armed Forces and other agencies.

For example, in 2011 the Military helped plant more than two million trees under the Green Quisqueya plan, which also included the efforts of 15,000 volunteers from different civil society organizations, including private businesses, students and teachers from schools and universities, business associations, government and non-government organizations, and banks.

And last year, the National Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARENA) declared October National Reforestation Month. SEMARENA proposed intensive tree planting throughout the month, particularly on ranches that had suffered deforestation and along rivers in those areas.

The Dominican Republic currently celebrates National Reforestation Day on the last Saturday of each month, during which people plant thousands of trees throughout the country.



A platoon of the Dominican Republic’s Air Force (FARD) is executing an important mission not in the air, but on the ground – by working with the Ministry of the Environment and volunteer organizations on a reforestation project along a major highway.

Since December 14, members of the Air Force have performed reforestation work alongside the Nordeste Highway, from the Las Américas Highway to the province of Samaná and near the San Isidro Air Base.

The project stretches over some 100 kilometers of highway, where travelers along that important road can see the saplings of calla lilies, cedar, mahogany, oak, acacia, azteca, fiddlewood, olive, rain, beech, ceiba, and other trees that Air Force personnel and other volunteers have planted along both sides of the road.

The Military’s history of protecting the environment


Preserving and protecting the environment has long been part of the mission of the Dominican Republic’s Armed Forces.

“Historically, in the Dominican Republic, the Armed Forces, above all the National Army, has been closely tied to preserving the forests and the country’s natural resources,” said Daniel Pou, an associate researcher at the country’s Latin American College of Social Sciences (FLASCO).

Troops protect the environment by deploying to remote areas of the different mountainous and forested areas of the country, he said. But this practice isn’t recent. The Armed Forces have conducted preservation efforts periodically over the past 15 years. They have taken an active role in preserving tropical trees by maintaining healthy forest areas to help preserve river beds.

“This has its origin, before the Ministry of the Environment existed, with the Reforestation Department, an agency under the Armed Forces Ministry. This has led to the National Army having a great deal of experience with reforestation.”

The current reforestation effort is led by Colonel Francisco Gómez Gómez, an Air Force parachutist. The goal of the initiative is to plant enough trees to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and to improve the quality of life for people who travel along Las Américas Highway, the colonel explained, according to a FARD press release.

Air Force members, Ministry of the Environment workers and civilian volunteers have planted more than one million trees during the current reforestation effort, for which the Ministry of the Environment provides the seeds and saplings.

This sensitive task has helped preserve the tributaries of the Biodiversity Park, where there are three important waterways whose beds are protected by a healthy population of trees: the Yabacao, Cachón and Salto de Socoa Rivers.

Reforestation plans throughout the country


The Dominican federal government sponsors and encourages other reforestation projects carried out by the Armed Forces and other agencies.

For example, in 2011 the Military helped plant more than two million trees under the Green Quisqueya plan, which also included the efforts of 15,000 volunteers from different civil society organizations, including private businesses, students and teachers from schools and universities, business associations, government and non-government organizations, and banks.

And last year, the National Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARENA) declared October National Reforestation Month. SEMARENA proposed intensive tree planting throughout the month, particularly on ranches that had suffered deforestation and along rivers in those areas.

The Dominican Republic currently celebrates National Reforestation Day on the last Saturday of each month, during which people plant thousands of trees throughout the country.
THE NICARAGUAN EARTHQUAKE
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