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Dominican Republic

Las Calderas

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Conservation benefit:Conservation and sustainable management of 173 acres of button mangrove forest for 10 years, management of solid waste

Community benefit:Strengthening of the productive capacities of beekeepers

Date Approved: 02.2022

Mangroves

This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

Las Dunas de Las Calderas is a protected area on the south-central coast of the Dominican Republic, only one and a half hours’ drive from the capital of Santo Domingo. It’s a stabilized dune system covered mostly by dry forest vegetation. Despite its dry appearance, it is teeming with life, home to the endangered Hispaniola parrot, rhinoceros iguana, recently discovered curlytail lizard (Leiocephalus sixtoi), hawksbill and green turtles, and American manatee. The forest comprises over 30 species of plants, five of which are endemic. The area has a mix of palm groves, cacti aggregations, button and red mangroves, and other dry forest species.

Though the area is protected on paper, it is threatened by clearing for agriculture, the felling of mangroves for coastal development, and extraction of sand from the dunes for construction. Illegal removal of plants and animals for sale is an ongoing problem, as is poor waste management.

This project supports the beekeepers of nearby Las Calderas, who serve as de facto custodians of the area and see the environmental threats first-hand. They are highly motivated to protect the forest because its diverse plants, including mangroves, provide food for the bees and make the area perfect for honey production.

This project gives the beekeepers specialized training, helping them produce higher-quality products that can be sold for higher prices in broader markets. The training also includes accounting, marketing and sales. They are also building a honey-handling facility. Community members are also learning about sustainable use of the protected area. There is training on solid waste, including using more reusable or biodegradable materials and improving sorting and handling. Environmental education activities and workshops target children and teens in particular.

This project is very similar to the successful Seacology project at El Tablón, and we are working with the same organization that provided beekeeping training, Consorcio Ambiental Dominicano.

Project Updates

June 2022

Leaders of the local beekeepers association and Consorcio Ambiental Dominicano (who will act as fiscal manager and conduct trainings on beekeeping and marketing) are determining their roles and responsibilities. Seacology visitors met with the beekeepers in March to discuss plans and see the unique habitat of the Dunas de las Calderas National Monument.

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April 2022

In late March, 2022, Seacology staff had the opportunity to visit Las Calderas. We traveled with representatives from our project partner organization to visit with the beekeepers of Las Calderas, talk about the challenges they face as well as their successes, and saw some of their hives within the protected area. A highlight was seeing bees out and about in the dry forest, voraciously feeding on blooming plant life. Near the mangroves, endemic Rhinoceros iguanas sunned themselves on a quiet roadway. We can’t wait to see what the beekeepers of Las Calderas accomplish in the future.

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