|Protected Areas in the Dominican Republic
National Parks are the most known protected areas in the Country.
The Act on Environment and Natural Resource 64-2000 defines National Parks as natural areas aimed at the maintenance of the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems of great importance or landscape beauty. National Parks can consist of woodlands, but can also be marine parks, or areas with no woodlands.
The Act does not allow intensive exploitation or settlements altering the ecosystem of the parks. Despite this, it allows the creation in these areas of the bases for the development of scientific, recreational, and tourist activities.
The Secretaría de Estado de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales enforces the Natural Areas Enhancement Program with the aim to promote the important role played by protected areas in the life of citizens, both from a social and an economic point of view.
National Marine Parks
National Marine Parks are stretches of the Dominican coast characterized by ecosystems of great ecological importance and beauty. They are large coral banks, some of which are among the best preserved ones in the Antilles. These coral systems represent a source of life for a great quantity of marine species.
Strict Protection Areas
They are areas of particular interest for scientific research and environmental monitoring, characterized by a scarce or even insignificant human presence which, for their rareness, need a strict protection. The aim of these areas is to preserve natural resources and processes that are unique from an ecological point of view.
Here, scientific research, environmental monitoring, educational activities, conservation of genetic resources and ecological tourism are carried out, according to what established by the management plan and the zoning of the area.
Strict Protection Areas are:
a) Scientific Reserves
b) Marine Mammals Sanctuaries
They are portions of land, watercourses, lagoons, or marine areas representing the habitats or shelters of animal or vegetal species which must be protected for their importance, rareness, and uniqueness.
They are areas characterized by specific natural aspects or by a great cultural value given to their rareness and aesthetic qualities. They include caverns and caves, areas with monuments or ruins of historical value.
They are public roads crossing landscapes of great beauty. These protected landscapes are established to be maintained as part of the interaction between man and the earth, to preserve the natural and cultural landscape, and to offer economic advantages deriving from ecosustainable activities and ecotourism.
They are areas covered with woodlands or forest areas of state, private, municipal, or community property. They aim at protecting soil and water. In these areas it is possible to produce timber, coal, and other products in a sustainable way.
Source: Secretaría de Estado de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales - República Dominicana