Above: Cascade Pichon in La Selle (UNESCO Photo: Dieufort Deslorges)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Haiti’s La Selle region was among 20 sites recently added to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
It is Haiti’s first biosphere reserve, part of a list that now includes 598 reserves in 117 countries.
Biosphere Reserves are areas designated under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme to serve as places to test different approaches to integrated management of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine resources and biodiversity.
They are effectively sites to experiment with and learn about sustainable development, according to UNESCO.
The La Selle area includes a large number of different ecosystems, including mountain, plain, tropical dry forest and coastal ecosystems and protected areas like La Visite or Forêt-des-pins.
The area is located in the “ecological continuum” of the Dominican Republic’s Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enrique Biosphere Reserve.
Approximately 4 percent of Haiti’s population lives within the biosphere reserve, with primary economic activities including tourism, handicrafts, fishing and agroforestry.
The list was approved by the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme at a meeting in Paris earlier this month.