The Monte Cristi province in the Dominican Republic has experienced significant mangrove degradation, biomass loss, coastal erosion, coastal flooding, saltwater intrusion and disruptions in local livelihoods and businesses because of climate risks. The communities in the Province, including their coastal-marine ecosystems, are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, particularly to the increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events (heavy rains, tropical storms, hurricanes, floods and droughts), rising sea levels, changing rainfall patterns and increasing temperatures.
Monte Cristi province is home to 6,072 ha of mangroves representing 45.6% of all mangroves in the Dominican Republic. Climate change-derived impacts exacerbate the stress that unsustainable upland production practices and land development place on fragile coastal areas. Consequently, the ecosystems’ protective role of buffering and reducing local risks and impacts from storms, droughts and sea-level rise is declining. This, coupled with a relatively high illiteracy rate (reaching 20-25% of the population), there is little awareness within the farming communities about the importance of mangroves and their role in protecting this vital ecosystem.The “Mangroves for development -Securing livelihoods and climate resilience in the Caribbean” project implemented by Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) aims to utilize a combination of approaches and the inclusion of social, productive, ecological, and financial dimensions of the Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) to combat the problems in Monte Cristi. This EbA approach provides a response to multiple current threats challenging the ecological stability and productive livelihoods in the area.
Our goal is to reduce climate risks and strengthen social, ecological, and economic resilience across coastal-marine landscapes and the adjacent land matrix in the northwestern province of Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic. Our EbA approach recognizes that unsustainable management of ecosystems is leading to accelerated degradation of mangroves, reduced soil fertility and productivity, and is thus eroding the provision of ecosystem goods and services otherwise useful for maintaining resilience to climate change. Interventions focusing exclusively on the mangrove fringe have little chance of long-term success, thus we use a broader landscape-scale ecosystems approach that integrates social, productive, ecological, and financial dimensions. We work towards enhancing awareness and capacities of local communities to proactively act towards replacing poor landscape management practices linked to the degradation of mangroves, through adoption of sustainable livestock production, rehabilitating degraded mangroves and riparian areas and developing financial mechanisms which promote sustainable and inclusive value chains and businesses.