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Dominican Republic: Saving Coral Reefs From Tourism, Climate Change and Overfishing

Animals

An estimated 90% of the Dominican Republic's coral reefs have been destroyed, creating a knock-on effect for the entire coastal ecosystem. Local businesses and conservationists are now working to reverse this damage.


Project goal: Making nature more resilient in the face of climate change, tourism and other man-made dangers by protecting and restoring mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and coral reefs.

Project scope: Providing expertise, equipment and financing to hire staff for projects in 11 Caribbean countries. Since 2014, non-profit conservation group Fundacion Grupo Puntacana has revived corals at 60 sites along the Punta Cana coast in the Dominican Republic.

Project partner: German state-owned development bank KfW, the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the International Climate Initiative (IKI), Fundacion Grupo Puntacana.

Project financing: The KfW is providing the Dominican conservation group with €800,000 between 2020 and 2022. The group will invest around €400,000 of its own money. The KfW will have provided €25 million in the 11 project countries by 2025.

Some 6.5 million holidaymakers descend upon the Dominican Republic each year to enjoy its glorious palm-lined beaches and turquoise blue waters.

But mass tourism, polluted water, overfishing and climate change have destroyed an estimated 90 percent of the nation's coral reefs, creating a knock-on effect for the entire coastal ecosystem.

Anglers' nets are now often empty, while the ebb and flow of the tide, rising sea levels and tropical storms carry away more and more of the country's sandy beaches unhindered. In turn that's threatening the very tourism, which is the number one source of income in the country.

Local non-profit Fundacion Grupo Puntacana is trying to reverse the worst effects.

Founded by investor group Grupo Puntacana, which runs a number of hotel resorts in the Dominican Republic, the foundation is restoring coral reefs and establishing protected areas in the hopes of securing the coastal landscape — and the livelihoods of coastal inhabitants.

A film by Tim Schauenberg

Reposted with permission from DW.

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