Sierra de Bahoruco National Park in the south-west Dominican Republic is an Important Bird Area (IBA), supporting most of Hispaniola's restricted range species, and important ecosystem services on which the local communities rely on. To work towards its effective conservation, the Birdlife partner of Dominican Republic, alongside support from Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation have strengthened the network of local conservation groups and have acquired land in and around the Biosphere Reserve.
Sierra de Bahoruco National Park in the south-west Dominican Republic is part of the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo (JBE) Biosphere Reserve. As an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) it supports most of Hispaniola's restricted range species, and offers vital wintering habitat for migratory birds from North America. Endemic wildlife includes the Endangered Hispaniolan Solenodon Solenodon paradoxus and the Vulnerable Rhinoceros Iguana Cyclura cornuta.
The IBA also provides ecosystem services to local communities, including food, water and protection from landslides. But it is situated in one of the poorest regions of the Dominican Republic, and pressure on forest resources is becoming unsustainable. The National Park has legal protection, but resources for enforcement are limited.
Grupo Jaragua (BirdLife in Dominican Republic) has made considerable progress in securing the long-term protection of the JBE Biosphere Reserve. Previous support from AVJCF enabled Grupo Jaragua to strengthen the network of Local Conservation Groups (LCGs), particularly around Jaragua National Park. AVJCF also provided vital funding to acquire strategic parcels of land in and around the Biosphere Reserve.
Grupo Jaragua has been active at Sierra de Bahoruco for many years, monitoring the status of threatened species, and working with communities to improve their understanding of their local forest's resources and biodiversity, and promote alternative sources of income.
The AVJCF-funded project will support data gathering and mapping to strengthen advocacy and conservation planning, and the development and expansion of sustainable alternative livelihoods for buffer zone communities. Local people will be empowered to help statutory enforcement authorities protect the park and address threats to its biodiversity.
Members of LCGs will be given training in biodiversity monitoring, data gathering and reporting, and two demonstration agroforestry plots will be established to promote alternative livelihoods. Ecosystem services provided by Sierra de Bahoruco will be assessed to strengthen the case for increased protection, using a robust but practical toolkit developed within the BirdLife Partnership.
At a regional level, the work will contribute to the Caribbean Biological Corridor project, which seeks to halt further destruction of the environment, secure the sustainable use of biological diversity in the region, and develop an action framework to address climate change adaptation, poverty alleviation and sustainable ecosystem management.
Compiled: 2015 Copyright: 2015
BirdLife International (2015) Conserving the rich forest ecosystem of Sierra de Bahoruco National Park in the Dominican Republic. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/03/2018