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The Political and Socio-Economic Factors Causing Forest Degradation in the Dominican Republic

Research report

Research report

Almost all the forest in the Dominican Republic was cleared in the twentieth century, first by logging companies, until the sawmills were closed in 1967, and then by slash-and-burn agriculture. This paper examined the underlying socio-economic causes of the relentless deforestation, identifying several key factors: population growth, a strong urban bias in government investment, inappropriate, inadequate and confused agricultural and forestry policy, and an extremely inequitable distribution of land. Only 50 % of rural people owned land and 40 % lived below the poverty line. Meanwhile the government undervalued the contribution of forests to the national economy and failed to provide policies that would encourage rural people to maintain trees.

Helmut Dotzauer