Yaque del Norte Model Forest

Country: Dominican Republic
Location: North slope of the Cordillera Central
Year joined IMFN: 2007
Area of Model Forest: 83,000 hectares
Regional affiliation: Ibero-American Model Forest Network

Contact information

Ing. Humberto Checo
Estela Geraldino 7. Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic
Tel: +809-574-6727
e-mail: yaguedelnorte@imfn.net

Forest profile and resources

The high basin of the Yaque del Norte river (“CAY”) is located on the northern slope of the Cordillera Central and covers approximately 83,000 hectares. Of the total area, 70% is located within the geographic limits of the municipality of Jarabacoa.

Forest covers 30% of the surface area; 60% is dedicated to livestock farming, and the remaining 10% is dedicated to intensive farming and coffee. The area of the MF is home to a rich biodiversity, with different types of ecosystems and exceptional climactic conditions, with altitudes ranging from 400 to 2,200 metres above sea level. Several of the country’s main rivers arise in this area, making its contribution to the national water network of indisputable value.  The following ecological zones have been identified: lower montane wet forest, lower montane moist forest, subtropical wet forest, subtropical moist forest. 

Economic profile

The zone has a population of approximately 47,000 inhabitants. Following the national pattern, many families in the rural zone have emigrated to the urban centres, which has led to a change in proprietorship and, in almost all cases, changes in the use of the land. This emigration has also brought an inverse phenomenon in certain parts of the CAY [high basin of the Yaque river]: many of the plots held by former proprietors who have since moved to the urban centres have been acquired by wealthy persons who come from the large cities, and who have established projects for forestry, agro-forestry, and residences.

In relation to the national average, the poverty indices tend to approach lower levels, given the high production potential. The primary production activities being developed demand considerable manpower and generate significant commercial interaction with the rest of the country and at the international level. Among these activities, note especially: intensive farming (beans, vegetables), the production of commercial forests, production of non-traditional crops (strawberries, flowers) and coffee.

Why a Model Forest?

The Yaque del Norte Model Forest is coordinated by the Secretaría de Estado de Medio Ambiente de la República Dominicana [secretary of state for the environment of the Dominican Republic] and is co-financed by the German Reconstruction Bank (KfW) as part of the financial and technical cooperation that exists between these two countries.  The objective is to promote the proper management and preservation of the natural resources in the high basin of the Río Yaque del Norte, the country’s most economically important river, and work is essentially geared toward improving the living conditions of the local population, aiming for harmonization with other political, social, and environmental processes that constantly influence the definition of the general landscape of the basin.


  • Among the key actors involved in the Model Forest are the following:
  • Dominican government (SEMARN)
  • Federated municipalities of the CAY
  • Management unit of the CAY (UGCAY)
  • Non-governmental organizations (Plan Cordillera, Junta Yaque)
  • Association for forest development in the central mountain range [Asociación para el Desarrollo Forestal en la Cordillera Central (ASODEFOS)]
  • Tourism sector
  • Dominican forestry chamber [Cámara Forestal Dominicana]
  • Universities (UAFAM, ISA)
  • Dominican corporation for state-owned electric companies [Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Eléctricas Estatales (CDEEE)]
  • Santiago corporation for aqueducts and sewer systems [Corporación del Acueducto y Alcantarillado de Santiago (CORAASAN)]
  • International cooperation agencies

Strategic goals

With the establishment of the Cuenca alta del río Yaque del Norte as a Model Forest, plans have been undertaken to act toward improving the management of the natural resources and the standard of living of the population, through consolidation of alternatives for production and organization. 

By means of alliances, accords, synergies, and cooperation agreements, the following goals will be pursued:

  • Support for consolidation of the legal framework
  • Organizational and institutional enhancement
  • Sustainable management of the forest: establishment of forests, development and implementation of management plans
  • Strengthening of the forest industry in the CAY
  • Promotion of production alternatives, based on agro-forestry systems
  • Recuperation of soils
  • Support for the creation of a Biosphere Reserve
  • Establishment of payment for environmental services [Pago por Servicios Ambientales (PSA)] as an incentive for the sustainable management of natural resources

Achievements to date

  • Regional Planning documents for Jarabacoa and Constanza
  • Strategic development plans for 4 microbasins
  • Application of a pre-payment system for environmental services in the CAY
  • Hundreds of units involved in organic production (farming and forestry)
  • An association-based forestry industry in the CAY
  • Membership in the IMFN, and a directory being expanded
  • Application of various technologies for environmental clean-up in connection with the processing of coffee, etc.
  • A master plan is underway for management of the CAY
  • Regional environmental management is in progress