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Palmas%20-%20Fuente%20Externab-2-f1bad391 Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo - More than 70% of the trees in Greater Santo Domingo are introduced species that impact climate change


Publication date:

February 20 2024

More than 70% of the trees in Greater Santo Domingo are introduced species that impact climate change

SANTO DOMINGO. - More than 70% of the trees in the National District are introduced species, which impacts the ecosystem because they do not have the same capacity as endemic and native species to face the environmental conditions of the environment, especially adaptation to climate change, he warned. Solhanlle Bonilla, teacher and researcher of Engineering Area of the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC).

 “In the National District, the phenomenon of land use change has occurred in the last 30 years. Houses with patios and gardens have been replaced by buildings in front of which palm trees, mostly introduced, have been planted. Palms cannot fulfill the ecological functions of trees. This situation has caused the urban heat island phenomenon due to the sustained increase in temperature in the city,” said Bonilla.

Likewise, he recalled that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 9 square meters per inhabitant in cities, in the case of Santo Domingo this parameter is not met.

The doctor in Sustainable Territorial Development recalled that among the ecosystem services of trees are carbon sequestration, mitigation of greenhouse gases, contribution to air quality, reduction of temperature and energy consumption. In turn, she highlighted that they help as a barrier against climatic shocks caused by storms and hurricanes.

He expressed that the INTEC Climate Change and Resilience Observatory (OCCR INTEC) made predictions of heat island episodes for the National District and for Santiago in which the probability of a sustained increase in temperature for the main cities of the country in the next 50 years was evident.

At the same time, he commented: “the increase in the permeabilization of spaces in the city, with the replacement of houses with buildings and the elimination of green islands, which are replaced by cement, means that when the rains come, the water does not "It has a way of infiltrating, which contributes substantially to urban flooding."

From the point of view of adaptation to Climate Change, Bonilla considered the planning of the urban forest as one of the important elements, as an element that contributes to the improvement of the well-being of the population, the removal of pollutants and the reduction of greenhouse gases. greenhouse.

Solhanlle%20Bonilla%20teacher-researcher%20del%20INTEC Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo - More than 70% of the trees in Greater Santo Domingo are introduced species that impact climate change

As a result of the problem, INTEC has published research on the topic, including “Perception of ecosystem services and adaptation to climate change: Parque Mirador Sur in Santo Domingo”, prepared by Solhanlle Bonilla-Duarte, Yolanny Rojas Mancebo, Alma Liz Vargas-de la Mora and Agustín García-García; “Urban Forest Sustainability in Residential Areas of the City of Santo Domingo”, carried out by Solhanlle Bonilla-Duarte, Víctor Gómez-Valenzuela, Alma-Liz Vargas-de la Mora and Agustín García-García.

There is also the article “Contribution of urban forests to the ecosystem service of Air Quality in the City of Santo Domingo”, which was prepared by Bonilla together with Claudia Caballero González, Leonardo Cortés Rodríguez, Ulises Jáuregui from INTEC and Dr. Agustín García -García, from the University of Extremadura, Spain.

The Manual of Trees in Cities and the Protection of Water Resources is an educational publication aimed at high school students in the Dominican Republic. This manual was prepared by Bonilla together with researchers Geralda Díaz, Leonardo Cortés and Ulises Jáuregui, and it explains that “the trees in the city represent an important component of its structure, since it provides a set of ecosystem services that give it an economic, aesthetic, social and cultural value to the city.”

They added that “trees offer sustainability to the urban environment, which refers to the satisfaction of current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy their needs, guaranteeing the balance between economic growth, environmental care and social well-being.” .