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Parks, population, and resettlement in the Dominican Republic

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 12:08 PM
Contributors: J. Mayone Stycos, Isis Duarte

KEYWORD: Community-based Natural Forest Management, Central America. Caribbean, Dominican Republic, buffer zone, conservation, land use, protected areas, land tenure, laws, policy, communication, community participation, conflict, population growth, case study. SUMMARY: Los Haitises National Park in the Dominican Republic was created by resettling inhabitants of the protected area and excluding all human entry. This study is derived from surveys conducted during the resettlement process of one community that had been relocated, one that not, and two that would be. The objective was to provide information helpful in future creation of policies and preserves. The surveys covered topics such as the definition and boundaries of national parks, people's feelings about conservation, agricultural issues in resettlement areas, and what land uses they would be willing to give up to promote conservation. Most people demonstrated confusion about the concepts of a national park and buffer zones and were unaware of the proposed boundaries of Los Haitises. Despite government preconceptions, villagers showed support of conservation and were able to cite benefits such as watershed integrity, animal and plant preservation and soil conservation. Villagers listed many land use activities that they would be willing to give up in order to support conservation. They were very skeptical of the land and housing that the government would give, and their fears were supported by the findings of those families that had been relocated. Community and religion had a positive relationship with attitudes toward park use and conservation. Study results suggest that communities should be involved in the development of policies and governmental conservation initiatives. The study demonstrates that rural communities may be willing to make sacrifices in their land uses in order to contribute to shared goals. Misconceptions about people's understanding of conservation issues may hinder progress. Education is critical to protected area planning, management, and community integration.

Author(s): J. Mayone Stycos , Isis Duarte

Publication Date: 1994

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