Permaculture- Dominican Republic – Post Survey Reflection Time

Charlie Durrant Permaculture Design

Parts of the Dominican Republic at first glance look as pristine as one could imagine, yet on closer inspection it’s easy to see there is lot more going on than the rose tinted shades of a tourist let through. Firstly, the island naturally would be covered in thick barely penetrable jungle like the Amazon or Borneo, where as now it’s mainly unsustainable grazed for milk and beef. Also, as common with much of the developing world, there isn’t yet proper infrastructure and education as regards to waste management, and so litter is endemic. Whats amazing however is when you look a little bit deeper and learn a bit about the flora, you’ll notice the natural abundance trying to break through every which way you look.

In any given field you’ll see trees breaking through, trying to heal the degraded land and creating the beginnings of a food forest. You’ll see the field boarded with nitrogen fixing, high protein cow (and bee) fodder know locally as “pinion” or internationally as Gliricidia, you’ll see the bitter leaves of Guava, Beach Almond and Sea-grape mostly left alone by the grazers, providing fruit for and people with the will to harvest. You’ll also be sure to find, Soursop, Mango and Avocado trees that have just grown from the pip flung from the afternoon snack of a local cowboy some 5 years or so years beforehand. This country was made to be abundant, and it will be again. The main problem is soil erosion and compaction resulting from decades of unsustainable grazing practice in places where there is no need for it (exceptionally inefficient on steep slopes). Eco forestry of diverse hardwood with an understory of Bananas, Coffee, Cacao and inter-spread with native flowering legumes to keep the bee and bird populations happy would flourish unattended, if only given permission. Oh and Rainwater collection. Rain from the sky, freshly distilled by Atlantic storms? Who would have imagined the abundance?

All this country needs is a few more open minded and inspired individuals like those I’ve been lucky to have been conversing with recently, to follow suit and the neighbors will begin to copy in response to their increased production, and higher quality of life. At the same time we can lock all the carbon and other greenhouse gases produced from an economy enriched by tourism and lock it where it belongs, in the soil and the life found within it, improving fertility for generations to come.

Regenerative agriculture – Dominican Republic, you’d be mad not to.

End Note:



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