Scientists Decry Looming Water Crisis as 50% Forest Cover Lost Over Two Decade Period in Critical Dominican Mountain Region

Desertification may facilitate skiing. 7Dias
The digital daily 7Dias is reporting that the mountain region of Constanza, known as the Switzerland of the Caribbean for its year-round cool temperatures and winter frosts, has lost 21% of its precious forests in two years, once blanketed in now-endangered pine trees.

7Dias further wrote that the Dominican Environmental Ministry reported a loss of 50% of the broad-leaf trees in the region over a 16-year-period, crucial for regulating the micro-climate of the area and water retention of the soil. It doesn't rain much in the region and most of the aquifers are fed by the humidity of the clouds, which can't form unless the mountains are blanketed in Hispaniola's iconic pine trees. No trees means no humidity, and thus no aquifers to feed the streams that turn into mighty rivers.

The growing desertification which threatens to blanket Constanza directly threatens the Nizao River, which starts in the mountain regions of the area and feeds the largest aqueduct for the capital city, Santo Domingo, hundreds of kilometers away. Although the 50% loss in broad-leaf tree forest cover over the past two decades only represents a decrease of 82.44 km2, that small loss now threatens the water supply of 3 million people. 

The drastic loss in total forest cover further threatens other major rivers on the island, particularly the Yuna (Tireo, Blanco), Yaque del Sur (Grande al Medio, Las Cuevas), and Yaque del Norte (Jimenoa,) which heavily depend on the crucial stability of Constanza's micro-climate.

Although the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, recently promised that anyone caught chopping down a tree would be incarcerated, it may already be too late to ameliorate the problem and prevent a resource war on the island of Hispaniola.

Haiti, already down to 2% total forest cover, provides a preview of what will happen to the Dominican Republic in the coming decade, with a prolonged drought producing a humanitarian crisis of unparalleled proportions, with the prospect of the situation only getting worse as weapons are being trafficked into the country from ports in the United States.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was removed from power in 2003 by Washington, is back on the campaign trail, and his victory may prompt another Pentagon adventure on the island of Hispaniola.

There is civil war and mass thirst on the horizon for the Haitian people, and the Dominican Republic won't be able to help.