In a nutshell
The importance of creating the Colinas Bajas Model Forest resides in the need to have a unified space for an amplified regional vision, one which includes different stakeholders operating in the same territory. It is the first space of its kind in the area to enable all stakeholders to establish common goals, a comprehensive vision, and concrete shared actions.
The Colinas Bajas Model Forest is unique in the region, with a territory under 450 masl under irrigation, dry land cultivation, and forests.
Some of the main challenges facing the Model Forest are a lack of capacity building activities for future regional leaders and a lack of funds that limits activities, travel, and event organization.
The Colinas Bajas Model Forest is dominated by the karstic hills of the National Park Los Haitises. Between the medium and low altitude hills, two mountain ranges branch out (central and northern), with wide intensively cultivated valleys, mostly under irrigation. The Ozama-Isabela river basins limit it from the East, and the very important Yuna and Boba river basins cross it through the center and the North, respectively.
During the last thirty years, forestry, agroforestry, and secondary forest management through regeneration have been developed in moderately hilly and flat land systems. Both extensive or intensive agricultural activities and agroforestry systems (cocoa, timber, and traditional crops) as well as forest plantations represent the most important economic activities in the region.
The population, estimated at approximately 1.5 million habitants, depends on water provided by the higher reaches of the Ozama-Isabela river, which also supply a large part of the population of the city Santo Domingo. Therefore, the Colinas Bajas Model Forest and its natural resource management affect directly and indirectly close to three million people.
The governing body of the Colinas Bajas Model Forest is its General Assembly, which groups all of its members, approximately 130 stakeholders. The following sectors are found among this wide diversity of stakeholders:
- Small producer associations and federations;
- Universities working in the region;
- Ministerial delegations;
- Private firms, mainly from the rural sector;
- Ecotourism firms and micro-enterprises;
- Local and national NGOs present in the region.
The General Assembly elects a Board of Directors, comprising five institutional members, who in turn choose an Executive Director to steer the entity between Assembly meetings. Every five years, the Board prepares a Strategic Plan and delegates activities among its members.
- Institutional strengthening and forest governance;
- Research, technical capacity building and environmental education;
- Forestry and agroforestry development with diversified production and marketing;
- Solid and liquid waste management;
- Tourism, ecotourism, and community-based rural tourism development.
Key actions in place to reach these goals:
- Involving forest entrepreneur women groups and teenagers in Model Forest activities;
- Self-management of nurseries and sawmills established in previous projects;
- Supporting low-altitude coffee production.
- A strengthened Colinas Bajas Model Forest cluster;
- Creation of the National Forestry Cooperative (COOP-FOREST), the first of its kind in the country;
- The project “Colinas Bajas – Los Haitises Biological Corridor”, including a management plan and situation diagnosis formulated for the Green Climate Fund.
Learn more about Colinas Bajas Model Forest :
Video: The Colinas Bajas Model Forest (in Spanish)