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Dominica Submits New Forest Conservation Targets After Hurriance Maria Damage

February 8, 2022, New York

In January, Dominica successfully submitted its latest forest conservation targets, called Forest Reference Emissions Levels (FREL), to the United Nations REDD+ Mechanism. The targets will cover the period 2018-2025. To achieve the goals, Dominica will work to conserve forests, conduct sustainable forest management, and enhance the carbon stock within their forests. The targets will now be reviewed by the UNFCCC experts under the Technical Assessment process.

Known as "The Nature Island of the Caribbean" due to its lush scenery and varied flora and fauna, Dominica is largely covered by rainforest. Within its borders lie two ecoregions: Windward Islands moist forests and Windward Islands xeric scrub. The Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a tropical forest blended with volcanic features, which was recognised as a World Heritage Site in 1995, a distinction it shares with four other Caribbean islands. The island has several protected areas, including Cabrits National Park, as well as 365 rivers. Some plants and animals thought to be extinct on surrounding islands can still be found in Dominica's forests.

The country had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 1.06/10, ranking it 166th globally out of 172 countries.

Hurricane Maria

Dominica’s circumstances within the REDD+ Mechanism are unique. Unlike other rainforest countries, Dominica cannot use annual historical analysis of GHG emissions and carbon emission removals in forest land for the period 2000 to 2017 because of the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria. After the hurricane, land use assessments showed a loss of between 85% to 95% of some forests and forest types. As a result, Dominica has had to adjust their targets based upon the hurricane damage.

The country’s new forest conservation targets are based on the net balance of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that the country emits and greenhouse gas emissions that its forests remove, and new lands converted to forest in the aftermath of the hurricane.

In addition to its forest conservation targets, Dominica completed the outline of its national climate pledge under the Paris Agreement, called Nationally Determined Contributions, for the Forestry and Other Land Use sector (2020-2030). This document was developed by the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division with support from CfRN. CfRN also helped Dominica’s government enhance the capacity of their national technical team and improved the quality of the reports to be submitted to the UNFCCC.

CfRN helped Dominica's government enhance the capacity of their national technical team.