Practicing Analog Forestry in the Caribbean
From July 15-18, a course on Analog Forestry was organized by the institutions Environment and Development Action in the Dominican Republic (enda-dominicana) and the Universidad Católica Nordestana (UCNE), leaders of the governing body of the Colinas Bajas Model Forest. Analog Forestry is a key strategy for the use and management of natural resources with a special emphasis on the conservation and management of biodiversity. The objective of the course was to share and deepen novel practices to save ecosystems, involving small and medium producers, educational institutions like UCNE, and governmental and non-governmental organizations. This course was supported by enda-dominicana and the International Analog Forestry Network. 22 technicians, farmers, professionals and community leaders took part. Participants hailed from various key parts of the Caribbean, such as Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica, and Dominican communities that are home to the projects Plan Sierra, PRONATURA in Villa Altagracia, Fundación Loma Quita Espuela and UCNE in San Francisco de Macorís, and enda-dominicana in Zambrana, Cotuí.
Milo Bekins, who came from Costa Rica, co-chair of the International Analog Forestry Network was the principal instructor throughout the workshop. He went over the historical development of Analog Forestry and the achievements and future prospects for this practice at a global level. Around the world, there has been ample promotion and growth in the adoption of Analog Forestry by a diverse array of institutions. Mamerto Valerio, the Director and representative of enda-dominicana, emphasized the need for teachers at all levels of Analog Forestry. More than simply receiving a certificate of a four-day course, participants were making a professional, ethical and voluntary commitment to extend, promote, and adopt the practices and theories that they learned. It is hoped that an impact will be felt among the colleagues, neighbours and institutions of the participants.
The course’s theoretical component was carried out in the conference hall of UCNE, while the practicum was held in the USNE’s demonstration farm and in the rural communities of Zambrana and Maimón. One of the concrete results was that each participant finished the course ready to undertake an ecological evaluation with measurable indicators and design an ecosystem that is desirable to one’s own purposes and adapted to those around it. Analog Forestry designs contribute to the strengthening of food security while also meeting the economic and environmental needs of the owner.