Saving threatened forests of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic

Supporting reforestation through seed conservation - a collaborative research programme between the Jardín Botánico Nacional in Santo Domingo and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for the conservation of useful tree species in the Dominican Republic.

Trees and cacti in Dominican Republic

The 76,000km2 Caribbean island of Hispaniola is divided between two sovereign nations, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Deforestation is a major threat to livelihoods across Hispaniola, as forests protect and sustain freshwater resources used for drinking water and irrigation.

In the Dominican Republic in particular, the population is continuously growing and the country’s forest cover is under threat from slash-and-burn agriculture and unsustainable logging and charcoal production. Conservation measures should be activated to protect forests and tree species. However, despite their widely documented importance, for the conservation of trees to be successful there are a considerable number of challenges to be overcome.

The Global Tree Seed Bank Project is one of Kew's major projects aiming to secure the seeds of at least 3,000 tree species from across the world in safe, long-term storage, among them the world's rarest, most threatened and useful plants important for the livelihoods of rural communities.

In the Dominican Republic, the project started in 2015 and aims to conserve and protect forestry diversity in Hispaniola by safeguarding the seeds of threatened, endemic and useful trees and by supporting reforestation and restoration activities.


  • Conserving forest species through seed banking
  • Researching the seed biology of tree species
  • Propagating tree species for reforestation activities
  • Seed conservation of at least 200 tree species
  • Screening of seed desiccation tolerance for at least 100 tree species
  • Propagation activities to be carried out for 25 priority tree species

Garfield Weston Foundation

Mattana, E., Garcia, R., Encarnacion, W., Clase, T., Manger, K.R., Peguero, B., Way, M.J., Jimenez, F., Ulian, T. (2017)

A new seed bank for Hispaniola: a platform to support the conservation and sustainable use of the Caribbean native flora

Oryx, 51 (3): 394-395