In June, Bridges began a new reforestation project in our partner community of Caimonial, Dominican Republic. Twenty families in total will plant twenty-five fruit trees each on their farmland. The families will also fence in a section of their land so that farm animals, like pigs and cows, do not eat the trees, a common reforestation problem in the area. Thanks to our St. Anne’s Belfield School and University of Reno School of Medicine volunteers, we’ve helped plant one hundred trees so far.
Deforestation is a huge issue for Caimonial and the surrounding area, stemming from nearby communities in Haiti. Families in this region rely on agriculture and farming as their primary source of income and consume part of what they can harvest. Much of the land surrounding Caimonial is deforested, cleared to make way for farming. Combined with the effects of climate change, community members are already seeing the effects deforestation is having on their ability to harvest crops like beans, pigeon peas, corn, onions, and root vegetables.
As part of this reforestation project, Bridges is planting fruit trees, specifically lemon trees. Our agricultural engineer assessed the plots of land and determined that lemon trees have the highest probability of flourishing based on land quality and resilience to pests. The economic incentive of being able to sell the fruit incentivizes the families to take care of the trees and ensure they reach maturity. Our agricultural engineer will provide the families with 6 months of training and guidance on proper plant care.
Miguela, a Caimonial community member who worked with St. Anne’s Belfield School volunteers to plant trees on her land, says, “I am excited about this project. It benefits the community in general and also helps us individually. I am planning on planting other kinds of trees on my land to complement the project in the next few months.”