Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I: Climate and geomorphic...
 Chapter II: Ecology
 Chapter III: Geology and miner...
 Chapter IV: The soils of the Dominican...
 Chapter V: Land capability
 Chapter VI: Present land use and...
 Chapter VII: Forest resources
 Chapter VIII: Water resources
 Chapter IX: Rural and urban population...
 Chapter X: Relationship to natural...
 Chapter XI: Mineral resources development...
 Chapter XII: A program of ground...
 Chapter XIII: Forestry resources...
 Chapter XIV: Agricultural development...
 Project 1: Preinvestment study...
 Project 2: Preinvestment study...
 Project 3: Preliminary feasibility...
 Project 4: Study to determine optimum...
 Project 5: Feasibility study of...
 Project 6: Feasibility study of...
 Project 7: Preinvestment study...
 Project 8: Preliminary feasibility...
 Project 9: Program of repair of...
 Project 10: Preliminary feasibility...
 Project 11: Preliminary feasibility...
 Project 12: Preliminary feasibility...
 Project 13: Preliminary feasibility...
 Project 14: Preliminary feasibility...
 Project 15: Preliminary feasibility...
 Project 16: Preliminary feasibility...
 Proposed studies for development...
 Chapter XV: Program of conservation...
 Back Cover

Group Title: Survey of the natural resources of the Dominican Republic : study on the development and planning of natural resources.
Title: Survey of the natural resources of the Dominican Republic
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075644/00001
 Material Information
Title: Survey of the natural resources of the Dominican Republic study on the development and planning of natural resources
Physical Description: v. : ill., maps ; 27 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Pan American Union -- Natural Resources Unit
Misiâon de Asistencia Tâecnica de la Repâublica Dominicana
Organization of American States -- General Secretariat
Pan American Union -- Natural Resources Unit
Publisher: General Secretariat of the Organization of American States
Place of Publication: Washington
Publication Date: 1969-
Subject: Natural resources -- Dominican Republic   ( lcsh )
Economic conditions -- Maps -- Dominican Republic   ( lcsh )
Genre: international intergovernmental publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Dominican Republic
General Note: "Report of the Technical Assistance Mission to the Dominican Republic carried out by the Natural Resources Unit of the Department of Economic Affairs in 1965-1966."
General Note: English ed. of Reconocimiento y evaluaciâon de los recursos naturales de la Repâublica Dominicana.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00075644
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 02355517

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
    Chapter I: Climate and geomorphic regions
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Chapter II: Ecology
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Chapter III: Geology and minerals
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Chapter IV: The soils of the Dominican Republic
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
    Chapter V: Land capability
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
    Chapter VI: Present land use and vegetation
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
    Chapter VII: Forest resources
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
    Chapter VIII: Water resources
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
    Chapter IX: Rural and urban population distribution
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
    Chapter X: Relationship to natural resources of agricultural activities and population distribution
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
    Chapter XI: Mineral resources development program
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
    Chapter XII: A program of ground water exploration and evaluation of its development feasibility
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
    Chapter XIII: Forestry resources development program
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
    Chapter XIV: Agricultural development program
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
    Project 1: Preinvestment study for the development of the Yuna river delta
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
    Project 2: Preinvestment study for land-use improvement in areas with soils of varying potential
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
    Project 3: Preliminary feasibility study of irrigation and modernization of farming practices in the Azua plain
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
    Project 4: Study to determine optimum fertilization levels for various soils
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
    Project 5: Feasibility study of drainage in four areas of the Atlantic coastal plain
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
    Project 6: Feasibility study of the development of large-scale citrus-fruit production north of Santo Domingo
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
    Project 7: Preinvestment study of agricultural development of the southeast Dajabon area
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
    Project 8: Preliminary feasibility study of diversification of production in the sugar-cane area of Sabana Grande de Boya, with special emphasis on the production of hevea (rubber)
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
    Project 9: Program of repair of the damage caused to the coffee plantations by hurricane "ines," and preinvestment study for the modernization of coffee cultivation in the Barahona area
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
    Project 10: Preliminary feasibility study of expansion of the irrigated area in the western Cibao valley
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
    Project 11: Preliminary feasibility study of irrigation in the Enriquillo-oveido area
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
    Project 12: Preliminary feasibility study of expansion of the irrigated area in the San Juan valley
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
    Project 13: Preliminary feasibility study of irrigation in the El Limon area
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
    Project 14: Preliminary feasibility study of irrigation in the San Rafael de Yuma area
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
    Project 15: Preliminary feasibility study of irrigation in the Hiquey area
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
    Project 16: Preliminary feasibility study of irrigation in the Guayubincito area
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
    Proposed studies for development of agricultural reseach and advisory programs
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
    Chapter XV: Program of conservation of forest, soil and water resources
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
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    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text








Report of the Technical Assistance Mission to the Dominican Republic carried out
by the Natural Resources Unit of the Department of Economic Affairs in 1965-

General Secretariat of the Organization of American States
Washington, D.C.


The technical assistance agreement concluded by the Government of the Dominican Republic
and the OAS/IDB/ECLA Coordinating Committee in September 1965 included advisory services in the
development of natural resources. Implementation of that part of the agreement was entrusted
to the-Organization of American States, which in May 1964, sent to Santo Domingo two technical
specialists in natural resources from the Department of Economic Affairs 1/, to identify the
specific technical assistance needs in this field. Conversations were held with the Junta
Nacional de Planificaci6n y Coordinaci6n, and with officials of the Dominican Government re-
sponsible for programs concerning the country's natural resources. On the basis of these con-
versations, and after having travelled throughout the country and completed an evaluation of
the existing data and maps on natural resources, the specialists concluded that a country-wide
survey and overall evaluation of the natural resources should be conducted at the reconnais-
sance level. The Dominican officials were of the same opinion.

The need for such a nation-wide survey and evaluation to be carried out arose because of
the scanty amount of information and mans available. Shortage of information of this kind was
impeding the formulation of economic development plans--particularly those for the agricultural
sector--and holding up identification of development projects. No Dominican Government entity
was conducting any investigations on natural resources to overcome this information gap, nor
was any ad hoc agency entrusted with the task. With the exception of the incipient program of
investigations for the development of the Yaque del Norte and Yaque del Sur river basins,
sponsored by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, no natural resources
investigations were being made under the sponsorship of international agencies, nor were any
such programs envisaged. Lastly, data for the entire country on natural resources were neces-
sary in order to permit formulation of the national economic and social development plan.
Preparation of this plan was the principal objective of the above-mentioned technical as-
sistance agreement.

The technical assistance program, formulated on the basis of the discussions held and the
definition of the nature of the problem, was financed from the Special Development Assistance
Fund of the Organization of American States. In December 1964, the financial arrangements were
completed; and the field work began in January 1965 and was completed in Anril 1966. The OAS
Natural Resources Mission to the Dominican Republic, a team of six technical specialists,
worked with the Junta Nacional de Planificaci6n y Coordinaci6n, the name of which was changed
in September 1965 to the Oficina Nacional de Planificaci6n.

The Mission continued working throughout 1965, despite the difficulties created by the
political crisis of April 24, and the fact that field work was interrupted in May and June.
The technical specialists went back to the OAS headquarters in Washington where they con-
ducted work on interpretation of air photographs and preparation of the cartograohic base for
the investigations.

The OAS Mission on Natural Resources was made up of technical personnel from the Depart-
ment of Economic Affairs and the Department of Technical Cooperation. Messrs. Peter H.
Freeman, geographer and resident field director of the Mission; Oscar Pretell and Gerardo Soto,
soil specialists; Robert R. Blesch, geologist; Humberto Tasaico, dasonomist and ecologist; and
John H. Montanari, hydrologist. Mr. Kirk P. Rodgers, Chief of the Natural Resources Unit of
the Department of Economic Affairs was responsible for technical and administrative supervision
of the Mission. All maps of the Mission were prepared by the Cartogranhy Section of that Unit
under the supervision of Mr. Lawrence Fahey. Dr. Wolfram U. Drewes, Deputy Director of the
Department of Economic Affairs, participated in the preparation of the Mission and offered help

1. Dr. Wolfram U. Drewes, then Chief of the Natural Resources Unit, and Mr. Peter H. Freeman,
Program Specialist and Technician in the same Unit.

in the technical supervision, particularly on the preparation of the population distribution
map, compiled by Mr. Robert W. Fox, technical specialist, Natural Resources Unit.

The present report was prepared by the specialists of the Mission, under the supervision
of Mr. Peter H. Freeman.

In Santo Domingo, the Oficina Nacional de Planificaci6n functioned as the counterpart
agency to the Mission and as a result of the Mission's activities that agency.set up its own
Natural Resources Unit under Mr. Pedro A. Bona Prandy, who acted as coordinator. At the out-
set of the Mission, Mr. Manuel G6mez Pieterz was in charge of the counterpart group. The
Mission's task was greatly facilitated by the valuable contribution of personnel, supplies, and
finances from the Oficina Nacional de Planificaci6n, as well as by the cooperation of the fol-
lowing entities: Instituto Agrario Dominicano, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Agricul-
ture (Department of Natural Resources), Instituto Nacional de Pecursos Hidr6ulicos, Instituto
CartogrAfico Universitario, Instituto Nacional de Aguas Potables y Alcantarillados, Oficina
Nacional de Estadistica, Corporaci6n Azucarera Dominicana and the Banco Agricola y Fertilizan-
tes Quimicos Dominicanos, C.A. The following private agencies furnished information and maps:
Compa~fa Industrial Maderera, C.A.; South Puerto Rico Sugar Corporation; Grenada Company;
Alcoa; Falconbridge Dominicana C.A.; and Compa~fa An6nima de Explotaciones Industriales (CAEI).


The present report is the end-result of an over-all survey of the natural resources of
the Dominican Republic, at the reconnaissance level, carried out by the Organization of
American States during the period January 1965 to April 1966. The primary purpose of this
survey was to map and evaluate the country's geology, climate, soils, forest resources, land
use, hydraulic resources and population distribution, in order to provide the information
needed for natural resources planning and development. Because information was needed both
for national planning and for project identification, the specifications of the survey were
adjusted to those of a detailed reconnaissance, thus facilitating national-scale appraisal of
natural resources while at the same time permitting identification of projects and justifica-
tion of the related investment studies.

In defining the objectives and scope of the reconnaissance-level survey, account was
taken of the natural resources development problems described by Dominican officials.
The Government was greatly concerned about the destruction of the forests by uncontrolled
felling, the activities of the hillfarmers, and forest fires. The program of settlement of
State lands was behind schedule, in many cases because of lack of technical data for planning
of the parcels. The Government was responsible for formulating and executing management plans
for the catchment basins of the Cordillera Central, on the basis of the program of construction
of reservoirs, dams and irrigation systems in the Yaque del Norte and Yaque del Sur valleys
sponsored by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The need was also recog-
nized to raise food production on the lands at present under cultivation. On the other hand,
the Government had little interest in promoting development of the country's mineral and pe-
troleum resources, owing partly to a lack of understanding of the technical aspects of these
resources at high levels of the administration.

In spite of a general awareness within the Government of these natural resources develop-
ment problems, the approach to their solution was based largely on political, institutional and
legal considerations and relatively little on technical criteria. This approach was perhaps
attributable to the shortage of trained technicians in the majority of the state agencies con-
cerned with natural resources. The work of the Natural Resources Mission was planned to supply
the necessary technical bases for the formulation of a policy and programs for conservation and
development of the country's natural resources.


The following are the principal objectives of the technical assistance program carried out
by the OAS Natural Resources Mission in the Dominican Republic:

1. To conduct reconnaissance surveys, to compile basic natural resources data, and to
evaluate that data for national and regional planning purposes;

2. To relate the natural resources data obtained to the immediate problems, such as land
settlement, agrarian reform, technical assistance to farmers, soil and forest conser-
vation, and management of hydrographic basins;

3. To delineate regions having a high natural resources development potential that justifies
more detailed investigations to establish the feasibility of specific development projects;

4. To assist with the financing and negotiation aspects of the contracting of services for
the obtaining of 1:20 000 aerial photographic coverage of the entire country, for later
use in the execution of investigations and surveys for specific agricultural, forestry
and other natural resources development projects.

Working Methods

The technical team responsible for the reconnaissance-level mapping of the country's natural
resources used photo-interpretation methods based on 1:60 000 aerial photographs provided by the
U.S. Army Map Service, with the authorization of the Dominican Republic. In addition, a population
distribution map was prepared in Washington, D.C. on the basis of statistical data and aerial pho-
tomosaics. This was included in view of the great population pressure on agricultural resources
and the consequent need to relate the population to the resources under investigation. The soils
of the agricultural areas of the country were studied in greater detail than is usual in a recon-
naissance study, in order to improve the usefulness of this information for determining the meas-
ures needed to raise the production in those areas. The objectives and methodology of the various
investigations are described in greater detail in the chapters pertaining to their respective

The maps prepared include: a) on the 1:250 000 scale: compiled geologic map; soils associations
map; land capability map; ecologic map; land use and vegetation types map; and urban and rural
population distribution map; b) on the 1:500 000 scale: annual rainfall and temperature maps, and
geomorphology map.

The studies projects and development programs are represented on a scale of 1:250 000.

Preparation of the Cartographic Base

For the purposes of over-all comparison of the data mapped by the Natural Resources Mission
experts, it was necessary to prepare a cartographic base. After considering the various mapping
tasks to be carried out by the experts, it was decided to prepare a cartographic base on a scale
of 1:150 000, in 8 sheets, each of which would cover an area of one degree of latitude and longi-
tude. The maps would be used for the initial compilation of specific data derived from the aerial
photography interpretation, from the ground observations and from other sources. To minimize
the publication costs, the 1:150 000 reference maps were traced so that the eight sheets formed
a mosaic and were then reduced to form a single 1:250 000 sheet covering the entire country. The
information under the various specialized headings on scale 1:150 000 was afterwards transferred,
sometimes in somewhat generalized form, to the 1:250 000 scale. In addition, maps for various
uses were prepared on scales of 1:500 000, 1:1 million and 1:2 million, on the basis of reduction
and generalization of data taken from the original eight 1:150 000 cartographic base sheets.

Most of the material for the 1:150 000 base map was taken from the 1:50 000 topographic
maps and aerial photomosaics (Series E733 and E034) prepared by the United States Army Map Service
(AMS). Some changes were made with respect to town locations and road classifications, to adapt
them to their representation on the series of 1:100 000 planimetric maps published by the Institute
Cartografico Universitario (ICU) -- University Institute of Cartography, to the ground observations
made by the Mission experts, and to a revision carried out by the ICU and the Oficina Nacional de
Planificaci6n (National Planning Office). In addition, certain river systems were added or cor-
rected by means of photo-interpretation, and certain changes were made in provincial boundaries,
originally calculated from the ICU 1:100 000 planimetric sheets, to adapt them more precisely to
land relief as represented on the AMS photomosaics and topographic maps.

To ensure that the technical data interpreted from the 1:60 000 aerial photography could be
represented accurately on a small-scale cartographic base, the aerial photomosaics (series E034)
were used in the preparation of the cartographic base even for areas for which 1:60 000 topograph-
ic maps existed. This means that the whole of the natural resources information interpreted
in the aerial photographs and transferred to the photomosaics by matching of photographic images
is in line with the representation of the river systems and other physiographic features, since
the locations of the latter on the cartographic base are derived from the same aerial photomosaics.
However, at the time when the cartographic base was compiled, photomosaics were not available for
the part of the country west of longitude 71015' E. The series E733 topographic maps were used
for that section. At present, aerial photomosaics covering the entire country are held by the
ICU as are the topographic maps.

In preparing the cartographic base, the following procedure was followed: the data
taken from the 1:50 000 AMS sheets were traced on the myler laminae; these were reduced pho-
tographically to 1:150 000 for the preparation of a mosaic adjusted to the coordinates of this
scale. Next, the symbols were defined and the sheets were engraved. The 1:250 000 base was
prepared by photographic reduction of the 1:150 000 sheets, which were assembled into mosaics.
These were then adjusted to the coordinates corresponding to the reduced scale.

The ICU was furnished with reproducible copies of all the maps prepared for the cartograph-
ic base, on scales of 1:150 000, 1:250 000, 1:500 000, 1:1 million and 1:2 million.

Aerial Photographic Materials for Later Studies

The reconnaissance mapping presented here constitutes the preliminary phase of investiga-
tions for the development of the country's natural resources. The next stage will consist in
the execution of detailed investigations to determine the feasibility of the projects identified
in the reconnaissance phase and recommended in this report. The majority of these detailedinvesti-
gations will require more detailed cartographic materials than the 1:60 000 aerial photographs
and the 1:50 000 maps used in the reconnaissance phase.

In anticipation of this need, it was recommended that 1:20 000 aerial photographs be ob-
tained, and assistance was provided to the Oficina Nacional de Planificaci6n in obtaining the
financing and contracting the services for the aerial photographic coverage of the entire country
on that scale. During the first few months of 1966, aerial photography was obtained of 70 percent
of the mountainous areas of the western part of the country; these photos will serve for inven-
torization of the pine and broadleaved forest resources of these areas, and also for study of the
headwaters of the rivers in certain hydrographic basins.

Projects Recommended

Through this investigation and evaluation of the natural resources of the Dominican Republic
it has been possible to select resources with high development potential and also to recommend
projects for the exploitation of that potential. These projects are presented in the second half
of this report.


INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . iii


Climate . . . . . .
Geomorphic Regions. . . . . 4
CHAPTER II. ECOLOGY . . . . ... .. 5

Introduction. . . . . 5
General Description . . . . 5
Methodology . . . . . 8
Description of the Life Zones . . . 9


Introduction. . . . . 25
Methodology . . . . . 25
Evaluation of Potential Mineral Wealth. . .. 26


Introduction. . . . .... 29
Methodology . . . . . 29
Soils of the Atlantic Coastal Plain (I) .. .... 30
Soils of the Promontorio de Cabrera (II). . ... 34
Soils of the Cordillera Septentrional (III) .. 35
Soils of the Cibao Region (IV) . . .. 36
Soils of the Samana Peninsula (V) . ... 39
Soils of Los Haitises (VI) . . .. 40
Soils of the Coastal Plain of Sabana de la Mar
and Miches (VII). . . . 40
Soils of the Cordillera Oriental (VIII) .. 41
Oils of the Cordillera Oriental Piedmont
Region (IX) . . . . . 42
Soils of the Caribbean Coastal Plain ((X) . .. 42
Soils of the Cordillera Central (XI). . ... 44
Soils of the Intramontane Valleys of the
Cordillera Central (XII) ....... ..... 45
Soils of the Sierra de Yamas (XIII). . ... 46
Soils of the San Juan Valley (XIV). . ... 47
Soils of the Sierra de Neiba (XV) . ... 48
Soils of the Hoya de Enriquillo (XVI) . ... 48
Soils of the Azua Plain (XVII). . . 48
Soils of the Sierra de Martin Garcia (XVIII). . 49
Soils of the Sierra de Bahoruco (XIX) . ... 49
Soils of the Barahona Peninsula . ... 49


Introduction . . . . .. 61
Methodology and General Considerations. ....... 61
Description of the Land Capability Classes. .... .63


Introduction . . . . ... .71
Methodology . . . . 71
Present Land Use and Vegetation Types ..... 73
Changes in Land Use on Lands Affected by
Agrarian Reform. . . . ... 88


Introduction . . . . 89
General Description of the Existing Forests 89
Utilization of the Forests Resources ...... 98
Protection and Regeneration of the Forests . 105
Organization of the Forestry Department
(Departamento Forestal). . . ... 108
Summary and Conclusions. . . ... 109


Introduction . . . . 115
Methodology. . . . . 115
Water Resources Development Agencies . .. 118
Hydrologic Description of Major Hydrographic
Areas and Basins . ... . . 119
Consumptive-Use and Irrigation Water
Requirements for Crops . . . 138
Inexpensive Methods of Water Supply. . .. 143
Cisterns . . . . . 143
Earth Dams . . . ... 143


Introduction . . . . ... .145
Sources of Information and Methodology . .. 145
Mapping. . . . .. ... 146
Political Subdivisions . . . 147

DISTRIBUTION . . . . 149

Introduction . . . ... .149
Use of Maps in the Over-all Evaluation of
Natural Resources. . . .... 149
Relationship between Life Zones and Rural
Population Distribution. . .... 150
Relationship of Land Capability to Rural
Population Distribution and Present Land Use 151
Land Settlement and Agrarian Reform. . .. 155


Objectives. . . . . 159
Mineral Development Program. . . ... 159


Phase I of the Mineral Development. . ... 160


Introduction . . . .... 167
Exploration Program . . . ... 168
Implementation and Procedural Concepts. . .. 170
Estimated Cost of the Ground Water Exploration
Program . . . .. .170


Introduction. . . . .... 173
Preparation of an Inventory of Forestry Resources 173
Pilot Reforestation Project on Non-agricultural Lands
of the Municipalities of JAnico and San Jose
de las Matas. . . . . ... 175
Establishment of an Accounting Administration Office. 179
Adoption of a System of Log-Volume Control. .... 181
Revision of the Forestry Law. . . ... 182


Introduction. ... . .. . .. .. 185
Study Projects in Specific Areas. .. . . 185
Consolidation of Agricultural Research, Extension
and Promotion Activities. . . ... 186

THE YUNA RIVER DELTA. . . . ... 189

Summary . . . .... ..... .189
Antecedents . . . . . 189
Location and Extent of the Project Area ....... 189
Objectives . . . . .. 190
General Conditions. . . . ... 190
Recommendations . . . .... .192


Summary . . . .... ..... .195
Antecedents ... .. .. ... .. .. .. .. 195
Location and Extent of the Project Area ....... 195
Objectives . . . . .. 196
General Conditions. . . . ... 196
Justification. .... . .. . 197
Recommendations . . . . 197

AZUA PLAIN. . . . .... 199

Summary . . . . . 199
Introduction. . . . .... 199

Location and Extent of
Objectives . .
General Conditions .
Justification .
Recommendations .
Special Note . .

Project Area.


Summary . .
Antecedents . .
Location and Extent of
General Conditions .
Objectives . .
Recommendations .
Observations . .

the Project

. .



Summary . .
Introduction . .
Location and Extent of
Objectives . .
General Conditions .
Justification .
Recommendations. .

the Project


. o


Summary . . .
Antecedents .. ....
Location of the Project Area
Objectives . . .
General Conditions . .
Justification . .
Recommendations . .


Summary . .
Antecedents . .
Location and Extent of
Objectives . .
General Conditions .
Justification .
Recommendations. .

. . . .

the Project Area..
. . . .
... . .
. . . .
. . . .

OF HEVEA (RUBBER). . . . . .

Summary. . . . . .. ..
Antecedents. . . . . .



Location and Extent of the Project Area. . .. 222
Objectives . . . . ... 222
General Conditions . . . .... .222
Justification. . . . . ... 223
Recommendations. . . . . .. 223


Summary. . . . .. .225
Antecedents. . . . .... 225
Location and Extent of the Project Area. . .. 226
Objectives . . . . ... 226
General Conditions . . . .... .226
Justification. . . . . ... 228
Recommendations. . . . . ... 228


Summary. . . . .. .231
Antecedents . . . . ... 231
Location and Extent of the Project Area. . .. 232
Objectives .. .. .. .. .. .. ... .. 232
General Conditions .. .. ... .. . .232
Justification. . ... ... .... 235
Recommendations. . . . . ... 235


Summary . . . . ... 237
Introduction . . . . . 237
Location and Extent of the Project Area. . .. 237
Objectives . . . . ... 237
General Conditions . . . .... .238
Recommendations. . . . .. .238


Summary . . . . .. 241
Introduction . . . . . 241
Location and Extent of the Project Area. . 241
Objectives . . . . ... 241
General Conditions . . . .... .242
Justification . . ... .. . 243
Recommendations. . . . . .. 243

EL LIMON AREA. . . . . .. 245

Summary . . . . . 245
Introduction . . . . . 245


Location and Extent of the Project Area. . ... 245
Objectives . . . . ... 245
Description of the Project Area. . . .. 246
Recommendations. . . . . ... 246


Summary. . . . .. .249
Introduction ................ 249
Location and Extent of the Project Area. ...... 249
Objectives . . . . ... 249
General Conditions . . . .. .250
Recommendations. . . . . .. 251

THE HIGUEY AREA. . . . ... 253

Summary. . . . . . 253
Antecedents. . . . . 253
Objectives . . . . . 253
General Conditions . . . .. 253
Recommendations. . . . . ... 254


Summary . . . . .. 257
Introduction . . . . 257
Location and Extent of the Project Area. ...... 257
Objectives . . . . . 257
General Conditions . . . .... .258
Justification. . . . . .. 258
Recommendations. . . . . .. 259



Summary. . . . ... ..... 263
Antecedents. . . . . .. 263
Location and Extent of the Project Area. . ... 264
Objectives . . . . . 264
Justification. . . . . ... 265
Recommendations. . . . . ... 265


Introduction . . . . . 269
Objectives . . . . . 269
Recommendations. . . . . ... 269
Observations . . . ... 269
Work Program . . . ... 270


Background. . . . .... 271
Recommendations . . . . .. 271
Functions of the Various Divisions of CIPA. ... 273

WATER RESOURCES. ... . . . 279

Introduction. . . . ... 279
Studies and Projects for the Conservation of
Forest, Soil and Water Resources. . .. 281




The Dominican Republic is situated at latitude 190 North. It is characterized by a sub-
tropical climate modified by the prevailing northeast trade winds and the topographic con-
figuration of the country. There is a wide climatic range, from semiarid to perhumid. The
climate of the Dominican Republic, determined by latitude and the prevailing pressure systems,
which are dominated by the mid-Atlantic high, is similar to that of the rest of the Greater

Mean annual sea-level temperature is 25C, with little seasonal variation. Mean annual
precipitation varies very widely, from 455 mm. in the southwest basin (Neiba) to 2743 mm. along
the northeast coast. Rainfall is irregularly distributed, both geographically and seasonally.

There are normally two rainy seasons: April through June, and September through November.
December through March is normally the season with least rainfall.

The country lies within a region of intensive tropical storm activity and is exposed to
occasional wind, rain and high-tidal storm damage from August through November. Hurricanes
frequently cause considerable damage to buildings as well as to banana, plantain, coffee and
cocoa plantations.

There are 90 meteorologic stations in the country, the length of record varying from 2
to 54 years. All these stations record daily precipitation data, while 51 of them also collect
temperature data.

More complete meteorologic data--on rainfall, temperature, wind velocity and direction,
relative humidity, evaporation and cloud cover--are recorded at only seven stations (Santo
Domingo, Sabana de la Mar, Puerto Plata, Santiago, San Crist6bal, Dajab6n and Moca).

Although most of the meteorologic stations have been operating for fifteen years or more,
no data were recorded for some years. Available information is therefore incomplete.

1. Temperature
Temperature variation is slight over the country as a whole, with a rather wider range
in the Cordillera.

Comparison of data for representative stations confirmed this uniformity of temperature.
The following table compares mean temperature recordings at 13 stations for August, the hottest
month, and January, the coldest month.

Table 1-1


Location in meters August January Variation

Azua 81 28.5 25.0 3.5
Bayaguana 52 28.2 24.6 3.6
Bonao 172 27.3 22.7 4.6
Constanza 1 234 19.2 15.5 3.7
La Romana 5 27.7 24.0 3.7
Monte Cristi 15 28.3 23.8 4.5
Monte Plata 49 26.1 21.8 4.3
Polo 1 200 23.0 19.5 3.5
Santo Domingo 14 27.1 24.0 3.1
San Juan 409 26.4 21.5 4.9
Santiago 222 28.3 23.5 4.8
Villa Riva 27 27.6 24.3 3.3
Puerto Plata 6 26.7 22.4 4.3

Although the temperature range between the coldest and the hottest months is not great,
the differences in relative humidity and wind influence make for considerable differences in
the sensible temperature, particularly as between, for example, the humid Lower Yuna River
Basin and the arid Azua or Western Cibao regions.

Although frost occurs in the higher mountainous regions during the winter months, most
of the country is frost-free, temperatures rarely falling below 150C. High temperatures are
common during the summer months, when noon temperatures sometimes exceed 34C.

Mean annual temperature and precipitation data are indicated on the appended Isohyets Map.

2. Length of Day

The following
and 200 North.

table gives average length of day for each month for latitudes 180, 19

Table 1-2


Latitude Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

180N 11.10 11.34 12.02 12.33 12.54 13.13 13.06 12.45 12.14 11.45 11.17 11.04

190N 11.12 11.53 12.02 12.57 13.02 13.27 13.17 12.78 12.25 11.72 11.25 11.00

20oN 11.03 11.30 12.01 12.36 13.05 13.20 13.14 12.49 12.16 11.42 11.11 10.56

3. Precipitation

Rainfall data compiled for this report are presented graphically on two maps:

a. 1:500 000 "Isohyets Map."

b. 1:250 000 "Hydrologic Data and Consumptive Water Use Map."

Irrigation water requirement estimates have been compiled at 31 meteorologic stations.
Normal monthly rainfall has been presented for each of these stations. A complete description
of these graphs is given in Chapter VIII.

The sources of information used in the compilation of precipitation data include:
Dominican Republic National Meteorologic Service, United States Weather Bureau, ecologic
data mapped by the OAS Mission, and data supplied by various private industrial enterprises
operating in the Dominican Republic.

Work procedures used in compiling and analyzing the precipitation data were:

a. Collection and review of most of the published information.

b. Recalculation of monthly rainfall statistics for many of the meteorologic stations,
when the original calculation was suspect.

c. Construction of a mean annual isohyets map based on the following data: compiled
mean annual precipitation data, orographic distribution, ecologic life zones, and
prevailing winds.

Analysis of the precipitation statistics reveals considerable variability in all aspects
of rainfall distribution. For example, comparison of annual rainfall for various years in-
dicates that rainfall has fluctuated sharply. This fluctuation is even more striking when
certain seasons or months are compared on a year-to-year basis.

Certain climatic conditions are relatively constant. May is generally the month of
highest rainfall, and March the month of lowest rainfall, for all regions of the country.

Rainfall is highest in the hilly or mountainous regions of the country, which normally
receive more than 1 500 mm. of rain a year. Most of the valley and plain regions are rela-
tively dry, with an annual precipitation of less than 1 500 mm. There are two exceptions to
this general rule: the valley of the Lower Yuna River basin, and the coastal plains of Miches
and Sabana de la Mar. The spring rainy season lasts from mid-April to the end of June, and
the autumn rainy season--with a lower rainfall--from late September or early October to the
end of November. December through March is the driest season of the year.

4. Cloud Cover

Cloud cover has been recorded only at the Santiago and coastal stations. In these
areas, there are two seasonal cloudiness peaks, the first occurring in May or June and the
second in September or October, the early-year maximum being slightly the higher of the two.

In the mountainous region, lowest percentage cloudiness generally occurs between
December and April. Average daytime cloud cover varies considerably, but is generally
greatest between 4 and 6 p.m.

5. Tropical Storms

The Dominican Republic lies in the region where tropical cyclones normally do not
reach their maximum intensity. Nevertheless, there is a high frequency of disturbances
that generate squalls and winds with velocities of 50 to 75 kilometers per hour (k.p.h.).

The tropical cyclone season extends from June through November, but storms that
appreciably affect the country's weather do not usually begin until August.

In the last forty years, a number of hurricanes have occurred that have caused tre-
mendous damage on the island. Notable among these is the San Zen6n hurricane, which lashed
Santo Domingo in 1930. Although small in diameter, this hurricane carried high winds of upward
of 240 k.p.h. The center passed over the city of Santo Domingo on September 3 and caused the
loss of 2 000 lives and damage estimated at over RD$15 million.

The eye of hurricane Flora passed over Haiti on October 3, 1963. Wind velocity reached
320 k.p.h. in the Lake Enriquillo area, and rainfall of over 1 250 millimeters was recorded.
In this region, and also in the western part of the country, there was heavy damage to agri-
culture, livestock and communications. Some sources placed material losses at RD$60 million.
Floods covered over 10 000 square kilometers in the western part of the country. Most of the
rivers draining to the southwest overflowed. Landslides and mudslides rendered roads in the
western provinces impassable. In some remote areas, the land was covered by up to three feet
of water, and airfields were rendered unusable by silt. The floods associated with the tor-
rential rains of hurricane Flora were described by some observers as the most extensive in
the country's history.

Tropical hurricanes are a definite threat to the Dominican Republic. There is a pos-
sibility of heavy property damage and loss of life, as past experience has shown. Damage
from such storms normally results from a combination of factors. Winds of 120 to 240
kilometers per hour, extremely heavy rainfall--which may exceed 750 mm. in a 24-hour period,
and exceptionally high tides--as much as five meters above normal, may all combine with de-
vastating effect.

6. Conclusions
The meteorologic network of the Dominican Republic is fairly complete, compared with
many other countries of the western hemisphere, but the distribution of stations is unsatis-
factory. For example, no rainfall data are available for certain important watershed areas
in the Cordillera Central. Rainfall recording at the ten stations located in the Cordillera
Central, which have been operating since 1960-1964, should be continued.

Little is known about microclimatic variations, which could prove to be extremely im-
portant to the agricultural development of certain regions. There are too many gaps in the
records of many stations, and errors have also been noted in the arithmetic calculation of
data recorded.

The hurricane warning system should be improved to minimize loss of life and property

Most of these shortcomings are well known to the officials of the National Meteorologic
Service, and programs have been or are being initiated to correct and improve the present

Geomorphic Regions

The Dominican Republic may be divided into 20 geomorphic regions, some of which are
divisible into subregions. These geomorphic regions and subregions and their names are
shown in figure 1-2. For a more detailed description of these regions and subregions, see
the appended 1:500 000 "Geomorphic Map of the Dominican Republic."




In planning and developing agricultural, forestry and catchment basin management activities
it is necessary to have available a source of basic information about the various climatic
factors that affect the growth pattern of the species selected. Temperature, precipitation and
humidity patterns are interpreted and depicted on an ecologic map. This information is then
available to the technicians as guidance for these activities in the development programs.

No studies have oeen carried uut in the Dominican Republic to furnish the necessary tech-
nical bases for planning the use and management of renewal natural resources without impairment
of the availability of water for irrigation, power generation and local consumption, the perma-
nent fertility of farm lands and forestry potential. This is the reason for the ecologic map-
ping of the country, whicn partly fills the lack of technical information and at the same time
provides scientific criteria that are closely related with the management of renewable natural
resources. Basically, this investigation furnishes the necessary ecologic criteria for formu-
lation of the agricultural, forestry and hydrographic basin development programs.

General Description

1. Ecologic Classification

The system used in the preparation of the ecologic map is the Classification of Natural
Life Zones or World Plant Formations by Leslie R. Holdridge. This system, which has been used
in the ecologic mapping of a number of Latin American countries, permits cartographic identifi-
cation and depiction of the relationship existing between climate and other ecologic factors.

The ecologic map of the Dominican Republic depicts, on a scale of 1:250,000, nine life
zones and seven transitional formations. The various life zones described in this study are
depicted graphically in the annexed diagram (Fig. II-1), which shows the quantitative values
that exist between tnree of the climatic factors: mean annual biotemperature, expressed in
degrees centigrade, total annual precipitation, expressed in millimeters, and humidity, deter-
mined by the ratio between temperature and precipitation. More detailed information on the
classification of life zones by this system is given in Section 2 below. The whole of the
Dominican Republic belongs ecologically to the low Subtropical latitudinal region, within which
two altitudinal belts have been defined: Lower Montane and Montane.

2. Holdridge System of Classification of Life Zones

After serving for a number of years as a forestry expert in the Caribbean region, the
deviser of this system found that by assigning biotemperature and precipitation parameters it
was possible to determine the limits between the upper units of vegetation. Using these para-
meters he constructed a diagram in which the values progressively increased logarithmically.

In the first published versions of this system the upper units of vegetation were desig-
nated Plant Formations; however, this term is applied specifically to designate physionomic
units of vegetation. Since plant physionomy is related more directly with the association than
with a major unit, it appears that a more appropriate name for the major climatic unit is Life
Zone. Using this designation it is possible to correlate all living organisms, whether plant
or animal, or human activity.

A life zone may be defined as a natural climatic unit which groups together various asso-
ciations corresponding to specific temperature, precipitation and humidity ranges.

The life zones diagram given in Fig. II-1 constitutes a graphic representation of first
order ecosystems, or life zones, on the planet Earth. The graph serves to represent the terri-
torial area from tne geographic equator (at its base) to the north pole or the south pole (at
its apex or upper part), depending on which hemisphere is in point.

The life zones or first order ecosystems are defined on the basis of mean annual heat,
precipitation and humidity values.

The measure of heat used is mean annual biotemperature, which is the sum of the daily
average biotemperatures (calculated by adding together the hourly temperatures above 00and up
to 30C of each day, and dividing the total by 24). The biotemperature indicates the ranges
of variation within which an active plant life exists. It has been proven that the physiolo-
gical responses of plants below 00C are the same at -100 as at -300C. It is tentatively
considered that something similar happens with respect to the physiological activities of the
plant when the temperature exceeds 30C. Investigations to confirm this hypothesis are in

The temperature values representing the factor heat increase logarithmically from the
upper end to the lower end or base of the diagram. The dashed horizontal lines correspond to
mean annual biotemperature parallels of 1.5, 3, 6, 12 and 24C; these lines serve as guid-
ance in determining the limits of the life zones. The values of the biotemperature guidelines
represented on the diagram serve to define the following altitudinal belts: on the left-hand
side, the Polar, Subpolar, Boreal, Cool temperate, Temperate (plus (Subtropical) and Tropical;
and on the right-hand side, the Nival, Alpine, Subalpine, Montane and Lower Montane (plus

The altitudinal belts that can be found in each latitudinal region will be only those that
have a biotemperature lower than that of the base life zone or that are located at an elevation
above the boundary of the base region. For example, in the Cool Temperate region the Montane
altitudinal belt cannot exist. Similarly, the Boreal can contain only the Alpine and Nival
altitudinal belts. The Tropical region is the only one that can contain all the altitudinal
belts shown in the diagram.

The dividing line between the Temperate and Subtropical regions and between the Lower
Montane and Premontane belts is indicated on the diagram by a dotted horizontal line called
the Frost Line or Critical Temperature Line. This line is not related to any biotemperature
value, because in different places it corresponds to different mean biotemperatures.

The incomplete hexagons in the lower part of the diagram, belonging to the base belt of
the Tropical region, indicate that only a portion of each of these life zones exists on our
planet. If the hexagons were complete they would extend toward the next theoretical biotem-
perature guideline (480C), however, at the present time the mean annual biotemperature does
not reach 30C at any point on Earth.

The second principal climatic factor in the determination of life zones is precipitation.
The value used is the average total annual amount of water that falls from the atmosphere,
whether as rain, snow, hail or sleet, expressed in millimeters. This value is always calculated
on the basis of the average annual totals for many years of observation, because precipitation
tends to vary greatly from year to year. The water that condenses directly on plants or in
the soil, such as dew, is not included in the calculation of precipitation. The water condensed
from dew or mist, when it is appreciable, is regarded as a factor of an atmospheric association.

The precipitation values increase logarithmically from left to right in the diagram. The
mean annual precipitation ranges are represented by the dashed lines that cross the diagram
from lower left to upper right. These lines form an angle of 600 with the biotemperature guide-

lines. The precipitation guidelines used in the diagram to define the life zones are 125, 500,
1 000, 2 000, 4 000 and 8 000 millimeters.

The third and last important climatic factor that defines life zone boundaries is humidity.
Humidity is determined by the temperature-precipitation ratio, without taking into account the
other sources of moisture.
At the present time no climatic or meteorological measures exist that are able to yield
directly a set of values suitable for use as. the humidity coordinate in the life zones diagram.
The value that is used, and which serves reasonably well, is the Potential Evapotranspiration
Ratio. Potential evapotranspiration is the theoretical amount of water that the mature natu-
ral vegetation of an area would return to the atmosphere in a zonal climate and in a zonal soil
if this soil were always loaded to field capacity. The average annual potential evapotranspira-
tion, expressed in millimeters of precipitation, can be determined for any place by multiplying
the mean annual biotemperature by the factor 58.93.

The potential evapotranspiration ratio is found by dividing total annual precipitation in
mm.by annual potential evapotranspiration in mm. The values of the potential evapotranspira-
tion ratio increase logarithmically from right to left on the diagram: from 0.125 via 0.25,
0.50, T.00, 2.00, 4.00, 8.00, 16.00 and 32.00 to 64.00, and their ratio is inverse to effective
humidity. The dashed lines that cross the diagram from lower right to upper left are the po-
tential evapotranspiration guidelines. In the diagram, these guidelines cut both the biotem-
perature guidelines and the precipitation guidelines at 60 angles.

The respective segments of the latitudinal regions and the altitudinal belts located
between two potential evapotranspiration guidelines represent a humidity province. The names
of these provinces are shown in their corresponding positions at the base of the diagram. The
names of the latitudinal regions, the altitudinal belts and the humidity provinces are in accord-
ance with universal scientific use.

In order to determine the life zone to which a particular place belongs for which climatic
data are available, it will be necessary to know the mean annual biotemperature and the altitude
above sea-level. The biotemperature line is determined by placing a ruler across the graph in
such a way that it intercepts the correct values on each side; the same thing is done with the
precipitation values. The point where these two lines cross is the location of the place on
the life zones diagram. When a point has been located in one of the hexagons, the correct life
zone has still not been determined, since it is necessary to know whether the life zone belongs
to the base region (left) or to an altitudinal belt (right) of a warmer region. In an approxi-
mate way, the maximum altitude range of the life zones of the base regions or of their corre-
sponding altitudinal belts are as follows: Tropical, 1000 m; Temperate 1000 m; Cool Temperate
1000 m; Boreal 500 m, Subpolar (up to 1.5C), 250 m.

A meteorological station with a mean annual biotemperature of 10C and a mean annual pre-
cipitation of 350 mm.would be located on the diagram within the hexagon bearing the designation
Steppe, opposite the designations Cool Temperate region and Montane altitudinal belt. If the
elevation is only 200 m.above sea-level, the corresponding designation is Cool Temperate Steppe.
However, a station with the same biotemperature and precipitation values but with an elevation
of 1500 m.would be higher than the total elevation range of the Cool Temperate region and could
not be a base life zone of that region. Taking into account the fall of 6C in biotemperature
for every 1000 m.in altitude, the correct interpretation is Montane Steppe life zone of the
Temperate region.
The names assigned to each hexagon correspond to the natural vegetation that would be found
within the climatic association of the life zone. The solid black lines of the hexagons are
the boundaries of each life zone. The biotemperature, precipitation and potential evapotran-
spiration ratio guidelines produce six triangles in each hexagon. These represent the areas
of the life zone with transition characteristics.

By means of this system, one determines the life zone, which is the major climatic unit.
However, it is necessary to complete the investigation of the subordinate units which have a
range of ambiental conditions within a life zone. For such an ecosystem, the name proposed by
Holdridge is Association, which, in any area of a life zone, can be one or many. The associa-
tions may be grouped into four basic categories of climatic, soils, atmospheric and hydric
order and in various combinations of these. In turn, each association can be subdivided into
lesser categories according to the present plant cover situation, which would be determined by
present land use.

One of the advantages of using the diagram of this system is that it is possible to pre-
dict the life zones that may be found in travelling between two identified zones of different
altitudinal level. For example, assume that plotting of the data for two meteorological sta-
tions on the diagram yields the identifications Lower Montane dry forest (LM-df) and Montane
wet forest (M-wf) of the Subtropical region. In travelling from the LM-df area to the M-wf
area the route must necessarily pass through the Montane moist forest or the Lower Montane
moist forest. Advance knowledge of the life zones that may be encountered facilitates consec-
utive observation in the field of the changes in plant species and physionomy.

3. Key to Life Zone Designation
Each life zone depicted on the map is assigned a different symbol, color and shade. The
symbol consists of the name of the base region or altitudinal belt, in capital letters, followed
by the name of the formation or life zone in small letters. For example, S-ws relates to the
Subtropical wet forest formation. The transition formations also carry geometric figures which
indicate lower or greater temperature and lower or greater precipitation. For example, S-mf A
indicates that the dry forest life zone corresponds to a Subtropical moist forest transition


The desk studies were carried out on the basis of the cartographic information contained
in the topographic maps, supplemented, for areas for which these were not available, by the
use of photomaps. The actual mapping was carried out on the basis of direct field observations,
the personal judgment of the author and the techniques established in the preparation of
ecologic maps by this system.

1. Cartographic Compilation
In the preliminary compilation, topographic maps and photomaps were used. The topographic
maps were of scale 1:100 000 (Series 1919, USGS/SEFC) and 1:50,000 (Series E733, AMS), which
cover mainly the areas of more broken relief. The photomaps are of scale 1:50 000 (Series
E034, AMS), and cover the areas for which topographic maps do not exist.

The life zones were sketched on these maps on the basis of the climatological information
available in the Dominican Republic. These roughly-defined boundaries served as the basis for
field verifications and for final definition of the boundaries of the life zones on the ecologic

2. Preparation of the Ecologic Map
The investigatory work included an analysis of the precipitation and temperature data, by
means of which a number of life zones were identified. There are a total of 90 meteorological
stations in the Dominican Republic, almost all of which are located on the sugar estates. Many
of the stations are located near the coast and very close to each other, in areas without any
great variation in climatic conditions. Precipitation and temperature data are recorded at
51 stations, at some of which the data are based on irregularly recorded observations. The
other stations record only precipitation data. The stations are spread over a very narrow
altitude range: there are 85 stations below 600 meters above sea-level, and only one station
above 1000 meters.

The lack of climatological information, particularly in the areas where climatic conditions
are variable, has been made up through utilization of the physionomic characteristics of the
vegetation and the selection of indicator species in local areas. The author of this classi-
fication has used these concepts in ecologic mapping in the Central American countries, Colombia,
Venezuela and Haiti.l/ The identification of a life zone from knowledge of its vegetation is

1. For further information on bibliographic references related to the utilization of
this system, see: Holdridge, L. R., Life Zone Ecology (San Jose, C.R.: Tropical Science
Center, 1964), 124 pp.

based on physionomic differentiation, which is observable in the natural vegetation or in the
secondary vegetation. Life zone identification has also been assisted by the considerations
put forward by Tosi 2/ relative to certain cultivation indicators, such as typical crops, the
organization of agricultural activities and land use in the densely populated areas.
Elevation, which is related to the determination of the altitudinal belts, was verified
by altimeter. At points within a life zone where a change was observed in the vegetation or
in cultural practices, or the presence was noted of indicator species that do not correspond
to the life zone identified, the elevation was calculated, either to determine the corresponding
altitudinal belt or to identify a different life zone. These points having been identified,
they served as the basis for the projection of a line on the topographic maps. In the projec-
tion of these lines account was taken of orographic position, the direction of the winds and
the influence of the atmospheric factors. Identification of the life zones located in the
Haitian frontier areas was facilitated by use of the report and ecologic map prepared by
L.R. Holdridge and held by that country.3/

The field trips for the purposes of this investigation were made by jeep wherever possible;
places of interest without access by road were visited on foot.

Description of the Life Zones

1. Subtropical thorn woodland
This life zone is indicated on the map by the symbol S-tw and the color dark orange.

Location and extent

The most extensive areas of this life zone are located in the southwestern part of the
country. There is a small area to the southwest of Bani, which crosses Arroyo Hondo and
extends westwards toward the Bahfa de las Calderas. The dividing line between the dry forest
and the thorn woodland is again located to the east of the township of Azua between the
hamlets of Hatillo and Las Charcas. A more extensive area of this life zone begins in the
neighborhood of Puerto Viejo and extends northwestward, crossing part of the Azua plain and
the Yaque del Sur River as far as the vicinity of Lake Enriquillo.

Southeast of Pedernales and in the immediate neighborhood of Cabo Rojo there is another
area of this life zone, not well defined because it is located on limestone soils and because
it is easily confused with the dry forest.

In the northwestern part of the country there is another small area of this life zone,
located at the foot of the Loma de los Aguacates, near the hamlet of Cruce de Guayacanes.

The total area of this life zone is approximately 1,001 square kilometers, equal to 2.08
per cent of the total area of the country.4/

Climatic conditions

Climatic conditions in this life zone are characterized by clear days for the greater part
of the year and a low annual precipitation. The prevailing winds are the trade winds, which
change direction according to the season of the year, thereby preventing the moisture-laden
air masses from becoming saturated and producing precipitation. The precipitation derives
generally from convective rains, which fall chiefly during the months of August to October, this
being the period of highest rainfall in the southwest region of the country.

2. Tosi, J.A., Jr., Zonas de Vida Natural en el Peru, Bulletin of the Inter-American
Institute of Agricultural Sciences, OAS, Andean Zone, (Lima, Peru) No. 5 (1960), 271 pp.
3. L. R. Holdridge, Ecological Report on the Republic of Haiti, West Indies (unpub-
lished report prepared for the Department of Economic Affairs, Pan American Union, 1963).
4. The surface areas of Lake Enriquillo and other lakes are not included.

Of the areas belonging to this life zone, the only place for which rainfall data are avail-
able is Puerto viejo, where precipitation has been recorded for a period of five years. Average
total annual precipitation is 455 mm.
No data exist for these areas on mean annual biotemperature, however, this may be estimated
at 22.00C.
Average potential evapotranspiration may be estimated at 130 per cent higher than total
annual rainfall. In this life zone the rainfall rarely reaches the rivers.

Topography and vegetation

The lands of this life zone are of flat to slightly broken relief. Elevation varies from
sea level to 300 meters.
The natural vegetation consists chiefly of shrubs and thorny plants.
The principal species found in the areas of this formation are cacti, such as: guazabara
(Opuntia caribaea), which is common in the area between Azua and Lake Enriquillo; cacto
(Neoabbottia paniculata), common in the area between the Tabara River and the vicinity of Lake
Enriquillo; palmer yarey (Copernicia Berteroana), common around Cabo Rojo; mesquite (Prosopis
juliflora), common throughout this life zone, and isolated species of Capparis spp.

General considerations relative to appropriate land use

The lands of this life zone are suitable only for irrigated agriculture. The irrigable
lands are chiefly those with alluvial soils. Recommendable crops are short-cycle species such
as watermelons and melons, or drought-resistant species such as sorghum (chiefly for forage).
Land use in this life zone generally consists of felling of the native tree species for
firewood and charcoal production. In addition, any grass land is used for the grazing of
goats, which causes erosion of the soil and destruction of the vegetation.
Excessive grazing and the felling of the natural vegetation, without measures to protect
natural regeneration, is resulting in the gradual disappearance from these areas of the native
plant species and their conversion into semidesert areas.

2. Subtropical dry forest

This life zone is represented on the map by the symbol S-df and the color light orange.

Location and extent

Areas belonging to this life zone are located in various parts of the country. In the
extreme southwest, there is a belt which extends from the town of Enriquillo westward, via the
southern slopes of the Cordillera de Bahoruco as far as the Haitian frontier at a point near
Pedernales. There is another belt in the northern part of the Barahona Peninsula which
extends from the Caribbean coast to Jimanf, between the boundary of the Subtropical 'thorn
woodland and the northern flank of the Sierra de Bahoruco. The dividing line between the
Subtropical dry forest and the Subtropical moist forest is hazy in some parts of the southern
and eastern slopes of the Cordillera de Neiba and continues in this region toward the vicinity
of Pedro Corto and of Las Matas de Farfan. The boundary of this life zone extends southeast-
ward via the southern slopes of the Cordillera Central, from Juan Herrera, Padre Las Casas
and BanT to Hato Viejo, south of San Crist6bal. In the extreme southeast it extends from
Cabo Engaio to San Rafael del Yuma. In the extreme northwest it extends from Santiago to
Monte Cristi, between the northern slopes of the Cordillera Central and the southwest slopes
of the Cordillera Septentrional.
This life zone covers a total area of about 9 812 square kilometers, equal to 20.42 per
cent of the total area of the country.5/

5. Surface areas of lakes not included.

Climatic conditions

Climatic conditions in this life zone are characterized by bright sunny days during the
rainless montns and by partially cloudy days during the rainy season and the months from
January through March.
In the southern region there are two well defined rainy seasons. The first extends from
May to June, when the trade winds give rise to the most important convective rains in the
country, though not to the maximum rainfall of this region. The second rainy season occurs
in September and October, which are the months of highest precipitation in this region. In
the northern part of the region, the months of highest precipitation vary from place to place;
in some areas the season of heaviest rainfall is April through June, while in others it is
the months of September and Uctober.
Precipitation is recorded in the areas belonging to this life zone by a number of meteo-
rological stations. Rainfall varies from 545 mm.at Puerto Escondido to 980 mm.at Santiago de
los Caballeros. In these areas, cloudbursts sometimes occur; this happened at Azua on September
9, 1953, when 300 mm. fell in 24 hours. On the average, rain falls on 51 days of the year.
Mean annual biotemperature for this life zone is very close to 22.5C and corresponds to
a mean annual temperature of about 260C, particularly in areas located close to large water
masses. In the areas of higher elevation the mean annual temperature may be as low as 230C.
Average potential evapotranspiration for this life zone may be estimated at 60 per cent
higher than total annual precipitation. The rain that falls in these areas does not reach
the streambeds (with the exception of that deriving from the more moist life zones), although
some runoff must occur in this life zone during the rainy seasons.

Topography and vegetation

The relief of this life zone varies from flat near the coast to broken on the slopes of
the cordilleras. Elevation varies from sea level to 700 meters.
Natural vegetation consists chiefly of species of the family cactaceae, shrubs and a few
trees. The chief indicative species of this life zone include the baitoa Phyllostylon
brasiliense), the bayahonda (Prosopis juliflora), the cambr6n (Vachellia Farnesiana), the
guayacan (Guaiacum officinale) and the verawood (Guaiacum sanctum). In many areas the natural
vegetation has been exterminated by felling and overgrazing; the more commercially valuable
trees have been felled, leaving open stands. In the southeastern part of the country and in
the southern Barahona Peninsula there are areas where the vegetation has been very little
altered. The plant species vary according to the quality of the soils; in some areas the
gumbo-limbo (almacigo) (Bursera Simaruba) and the frijol (Capparis spp.) predominate, while
at other places the guano palm (Coccothrinax argentea), (Byrsonima lucida) and species of the
genus Croton (castor-oil plants) are more common, while the uva de la playa (Coccoloba uvifera)
is common near the coast.
In areas where the natural vegetation has been stripped, species of cactus predominate,
such as: cayco (Cephalocereus polygonus), pitajaya (Hylocereus triangularis), which cover
chiefly the Monte Cristi area; yaso (Cereus divaricatus) and another variety of cayuco
(Lemaireocereus hystrix), which is common in both the northern and the southern parts of this
life zone. Uther species of cactus are: alpargata (Opuntia moniliformis), which sometimes
reaches shrub size, prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) and spiny melon (Melocactus Lemari).
The species native to this life zone are of slow growth. The formation of new stands
by natural regeneration occurs particularly when there is sufficient soil moisture.

General considerations relative to appropriate land use

Because of the short duration of the rainy seasons, rain-fed farming is restricted to
short growth-cycle species. However, pests and diseases are few and climatic conditions suitable
for the development of agriculture. The only land settlement projects to have prospered have
been those with irrigation water.

The lands with medium quality soils are suitable for sisal cultivation without irrigation.
These plants show excellent growth. Suitable perennial crops are species of fruit trees:
mangos, guanabanas and certain citrus varieties. The quality of the fruit is greatly influenced
by the dry season that occurs after the fructification period.

Lands with good quality soils and access to irrigation water can produce highly profitable
harvests, particularly of cotton, sugar cane, rice, beans and other intensive-cultivation crops.

Lands unsuitable for agriculture because of the low productive capacity of their soils
can be used for a variety of selected pasture grasses, such as guinea grass, provided that
grazing does not cause erosion problems. They provide a basis for the development of low-density
stockraising, as has already happened in certain parts of this life zone.
Lands which because of the quality of their soils or their topographic characteristics are
unsuitable for farming or stockraising should be used for forestry development. For this, it
is necessary to carry out reforestation projects. These projects should be aimed at protection
of the natural regeneration of the native species of high commercial value. Species that yield
wood or other products of commercial value include: Guaiacum officinale, Guaiacum sanctum,
Prosopis juliflora and Phyllostyllon brasiliense.
Farmlands without surrounding trees or vegetation are exposed to the strong winds that
prevail during certain times of the year and which sometimes cause extensive damage to crops.
As protection against the wind, it is possible to plant trees so as to form a shelter curtain
around the cultivated fields. The most suitable trees for this purpose are the necklace oak,
the eucalyptus and certain native species, especially of the family leguminosa.

3. Subtropical dry forest to Subtropical moist forest transition zone

This transition zone, which is characterized by relatively more moist conditions, is
represented on the map by the symbol S-df > or S-dfa and the color yellow. The areas
identified cover a relatively small area, of approximately 150 square kilometers, equal to
0.31 per cent of the total area of the country.
Differentiation between this zone and the dry forest zone itself is based chiefly on its
climatic features and orographic location. Where this life zone meets the moist forest zone,
rain falls on 108 days of the year. The month of highest rainfall is May in some places and
October on other places. In the transition zones of higher elevation, biotemperature during
a certain part of the year can be up to 20C lower. This helps to maintain the humidity for
a longer time in this zone, even though it receives the same rainfall as the dry forest zone.
For identification of this transition zone, the cane palm (Sabal umbraculifera) is an
indicator species that helps to differentiate it from the moist forest zone; the mahogany
(Swietenia mahogoni) similar facilitates its differentiation from the true dry forest zone.
Areas with good suitability for farming can support the same crops as the moist forest
zone. However, good harvests are subject to the cyclical distribution of rainfall, which is
not the same every year. Rainfall is generally lacking when the plants most need moisture for
their development. The result is that the farmers in this zone sometimes obtain good harvests
and sometimes lose the entire harvest for lack of moisture.

4. Subtropical moist forest
This life zone is represented on the map by the symbol S-mf and the color yellowish-green.

Location and extent

The areas belonging to this formation extend over the most important agricultural valleys
in the country.
In the northern region, the Subtropical moist forest covers the valleys whose rivers empty
into the Atlantic Ocean. These areas extend from sea level up to 500 meters, on the northern
slopes of the Cordillera Septentrional. The zone continues along the southern slopes of this
Cordillera, covering a large part of the Eastern Cibao Valley and the valleys that connect
with the lower Yuna River basin. In the Samana Peninsula, it covers chiefly the lands from
the coast up to 400 meters above sea level. In the northwest, it extends via the south of
Dajab6n, taking in the valleys formed by the tributaries of the Yaque del Norte River, at
elevations of 400 to 800 meters above sea level.
In the western region it covers the left banks of the valleys of the tributaries of the
Artibonito River, extending from the northern slopes of the Sierra de Neiba to the southern
slopes of the Cordillera Central.
In the southwestern region it extends via the southern foothills of the Sierra de Neiba,
at elevations ranging from 400 to 800 meters. On the slopes of the Sierra de Bahoruco it

includes narrow strips between the Subtropical wet forest and the Subtropical dry forest, or
the zone of transition of the latter to the moist forest zone; elevations range from sea level
(Barahona) to 700 meters.
In the southern part of the slopes of the Cordillera Central it covers the valleys of the
tributaries of the Yaque del Sur River basin and of the Ocoa, Nizao and Jaina rivers.
In the southeastern region it includes practically the whole of the Caribbean Coastal Plain,
between San Crist6bal, the southern slopes of the Cordillera Oriental and San Rafael del Yuma.
It also includes portions of the narrow valleys located in the slopes north and east of the
Cordillera Oriental.
This life zone is the most extensive in the Dominican Republic, covering approximately
22 139 square kilometers, or 46.08 per cent of the total area of the country.

Climatic conditions

Ecologic conditions in this life zone result from a complex climatic system, influenced
chiefly by the occurrence of the subtropical anticyclones and the direction of the trade winds
that prevail for most of the year. The anticyclone with varying and temporary effects is of
continental origin, while that with permanent effects is of oceanic origin.
The rainfall system of this life zone is one of the most complex in the country. Precipi-
tation is closely bound up with the influence of the continental anticyclone and the trade
winds, which together with the movement of the oceanic cyclone give rise to two well-defined
rainy seasons in this zone.6/
The period of lowest rainfall occurs at the beginning of the year, when the continental
anticyclone moves from the North American continent southward and eventually covers the entire
country. The presence of this anticyclone during the months of January through March creates
conditions totally opposed to the production of convective rain. Moreover, the trade winds,
which occupy their most southerly position during these months, have such a low moisture content
that they are insufficient in themselves to give rise to either convection or orographic rain.

Rainfall is most frequent during the months of April through December, and varies in
intensity according to the orographic location of lands in this life zone. Precipitation
generally begins after the influence of the continental anticyclone has ceased, giving rise to
conditions of atmospheric instability over the island. Moreover, from April onwards the trade
winds which blow from the east become charged with moisture and as they pass over the island
give rise to both convection and orographic rains.
The fact that all areas within this life zone receive sufficient rain for nine months of
the year is due to the influence of the oceanic anticyclone and to the passage of the trade
winds. During the months of April to July the oceanic anticyclone reaches its maximum intensity
and its most northerly position. The passage of these winds over the island, combined with the
convection and the relief characteristics, gives rise to orographic rains which are the most
important of the eastern region of the country. In August, the oceanic anticyclone begins to
diminish in intensity and to move southward. In September, the effects of the continental anti-
cyclone reappear and create favorable conditions for convective rains. In October, the conti-
nental anticyclone gains in importance, influences the rainfall distribution and produces the
heaviest.rain of the extreme southern region of the country. In November and December, both
anticyclones have similar effects, giving rise to the heaviest rainfalls of the areas located
to the north of the Cordillera Septentrional.

In the central region, average annual precipitation diminishes progressively from 1 500 mm.
to 1 000 mm. westward, and increases from 1 500 mm. to 2 000 mm. eastward.

Temperature in this life zone varies according to location. In open areas near the coast,
mean annual biotemperature is 23 to 240C. In areas of higher elevation or located close to
the slopes of the cordilleras it is 210C or less.

Average potential evapotranspiration may be estimated at 20 per cent less than total average
annual precipitation. In this life zone, one fourth of rainfall is lost not by evapotranspira-
tion but by runoff, which is greatest during the months of highest rainfall.
6. Inocencio Font Tullot, El Clima de la RepOblica Dominicana (Servicio Meteorol6gico
Nacional, Department of the Armed Forces, 1958, 43 pp.).

Topography and vegetation

Relief in this life zone varies from flat to broken, with elevations ranging from sea level
to 850 meters.

The original natural vegetation consists of forests of regular size, of which very little
now remains, most of the trees having been felled to allow farming. The conserved natural
vegetation consists of small isolated stands of second growth timber in pastures or along the
river banks.

The major indicator species that help to identify this life zone are the capa (Catal a
longissima), particularly on well-drained soils, and the mahogany (Swietenia mahogoni), a
species very characteristic of this life zone. The royal palm (Roystonea regia) is common on
soils derived from calcareous rocks.

The vegetation of the small second-growth stands consists chiefly of species of Juan
Primero (Simaruba glauca), mahoe (Lonchocarpus domingensis), and saffron or jagua (Genipa
americana). The commonest species in the Caribbean Coastal Plain and on the slopes of the
Cordillera Septentrional are guaraguao or grigri (Bucida Buceras), yaya (Oxandra lanceolata)
and amacey (Tetragastris balsamifera). The isolated trees belong chiefly to the species of
fustete (Chlorophora tinctoria), common in the areas of Luper6n, Imbert and Villa Isabel;
campeche (Haematoxylon campechianum), characteristic of Puerto Plata and the vicinity of
Santiago; lirio (Hippeastrum puniceum), common in the calcareous soils of San Pedro de Macorfs,
cashew (Pithecellobium glaucum), characteristic of the Enriquillo, Barahona and Azua areas,
gu6cima (Guazuma ulmifolia) and palo de leche (Rauwolfia canescens), common in the Caribbean
Coastal Plain and the Barahona Peninsula, penda (Citharexylum fruticosum) and c6rbano
(Pithecellobium Bertarianum), common in the San Jos6 de las Matas, Santiago, La Romana and
Barahona areas.

The vegetation of the savannas or lands with shallow soils is characterized by the pres-
ence of the shrubs peralejo (Curatella americana), hojancha (Coccoloba pubescens), memiso
(Trema micrantha) and a species of oak (Tabebuia Berteri). The areas with marginal soils and
precipitations close to the Subtropical dry forest pattern are characterized by the presence
of cajuil (Anacardium occidental).

The vegetation of the marshlands and mangrove swamps consists chiefly of species of
dragon tree (Pterocarpus officinalis), fig (Higo sp.), red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), black
mangrove (Conocarpus erecta), mangrove (Avicennia nitida), (Conocarpus sericea var. jiminensis)
and white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa).

Because of the good soil moisture, the native species exhibit ready natural regeneration.
Generally speaking, they are of moderate growth.

General considerations relative to appropriate land use

From the climatic point of view, the lands of this life zone are those best suited for the
development of farming and stockraising activities, because of the combination of temperature
and rainfall conditions. The major population centers are located in these areas. Most of the
people are engaged in farming or stockraising. Because of these climatic advantages, the rural
population of these areas has prospered better than that of any other life zone.

Lands of flat relief and deep soils with good texture are excellently suited to intensive
agriculture. The chief crops that can be cultivated include tobacco, string beans, potatoes,
yuca, corn, peanuts, rice and various types of vegetables. In some places, two harvests a year
can be obtained of corn, beans and peanuts. Good harvests of rice (rainfed variety) can be
obtained without irrigation, though it appears that the rainfall distribution does not always
permit two harvests a year.

Undulating lands with shallow soils may be suitable for tree crops. The major species
recommendable include coffee, sugar cane, bananas, coconut palm and fruit trees. Lands located
near the coast are particularly suited for the establishment of coconut plantations, since this
species tolerates a certain degree of salinity. Among fruit trees, avocado and varieties of
citrus can produce excellent fruit.

Conditions are good for the development of high-density stockraising, particularly the
breeding of dairy cattle.
Lands unsuited for cultivation and located close to the dividing line between this and the
wet forest zone must be allocated to reforestation projects. The major native species recom-
mendable, from the point of view of the quality of their wood, are mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni),
which is very little subject to attack by insects during the early years of its growth period,
and the capa (Catalpa longissima), a species that is able to develop satisfactorily in mixed
stands. The farmers have begun to protect the royal palm (Roystonea regia) on their pastures
because of the benefits it provides. The fruit is used as hog feed, the leaves for thatching,
and the trunk as a construction material.
The principal exotic forest species that can be grown in plantations in this zone include
Pinus caribaea, particularly in areas near the coast; Pinus Merkusii, Pinus cubensis and Pinus
insularis, in areas of former pine forest; and Eucalyptus robusta, Eucalyptus citriodora,
Eucalyptus saligna and Eucalyptus tereticornis, in the deforested areas or on abandoned former
farmland. All these are fast-growing species capable of supplying wood for both local and
national needs.
The uva de playa (Coccoloba uvifera) and the palo de leche (Rauwolfia canescens), two native
species that grow on soils of marine calcareous origin in the southern part of the Caribbean
Coastal Plain, are suitable reforestation species. Such plantations can furnish the raw material
for the development of new industries. The uva de playa produces a fruit from which high quality
preserves can be made. The roots of the palo de leche contain a high-concentration alkaloid in
demand on the pharmaceutical market.

5. Subtropical moist forest to dry forest transition zone
This zone of transition toward drier conditions is represented on the map by the symbol
S-mf < or S-mf V and the color dark yellow. The areas identified cover a total of about
500 square kilometers, equal to 1.04 per cent of the total area of the country.

Identification of this transition area within the moist forest zone is possible on the basis
of orographic location and climate conditions. Where the transition area meets the dry forest
zone, the rainfall pattern resembles that of the moist forest zone, except for differences in
rainfall distribution and duration. Where the transition zone is under the influence of wind
direction, total rainfall is about equal to the maximum for the dry forest zone.

Crops in this transition zone are limited to those that prefer or are able to tolerate the
drier conditions. The produce is characteristically of excellent quality. Thus, for example,
the oranges and pineapples grown in this zone are sweet and juicy, while first qualities of
certain varieties of tobacco are also obtained here.

6. Subtropical moist forest to wet forest transition zone

This transition zone is represented on the map by the symbol S-mf P> or S-mf A and the
color blue-green. The areas identified cover about 155 square kilometers, equal to 0.32 per cent
of the total area of the country.

Identification of these transition zones is based on the characteristics of the vegetation,
which point to slightly more moist conditions, and the harvests of the species cultivated.
Transition areas located at higher elevations and adjacent to the Subtropical wet forest receive
the maximum rainfall for the S-mf. The rains are more uniformly distributed and affect the
physical appearance of the vegetation and the presence of species indicative of the S-wf. The
crops typical of the S-mf yield unprofitable harvests, because of the high production cost.

7. Subtropical wet forest
This life zone is represented on the map by the symbol S-wf and the color dark green.

Location and extent

The lands of this life zone extend chiefly between the slopes of the Cordillera Septentrio-
nal, the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera Oriental. Many of the cultivated areas of the

S-mf extend into this zone and this sometimes makes it difficult to identify the boundary between
the two zones. This life zone is generally adjacent to the S-mf and LM-wf life zones.

In the northern region it comprises chiefly the broken lands of the Cordillera Septentrio-
nal. In the northwest, it occupies the Cabrera Promontory, extending down to sea level. On
the Samana Peninsula, it extends from 200 meters to the highest elevations found in the Peninsula.

In the eastern region, this life zone occupies the higher slopes of the Sierra de Yamasa
and the Cordillera Oriental. In the extreme eastern part of the Cordillera Oriental it extends
from areas of slight relief down to sea level.

In the southern and eastern parts of the Cordillera Central it occupies the lands bordering
the Yuna, Nizao, Jaina and Ozama rivers. To the north and west, it extends over the lands along
the tributaries of the Yaque del Norte, Dajab6n and Artibonito rivers.

This formation covers a total area of about 6,808 square kilometers, equal to 14.2 per cent
of the total area of the country.

Climatic conditions

Climatic conditions in this life zone vary under the influence of the anticyclones and the
trade winds that traverse the country.

The rainfall pattern is similar to that of the Subtropical moist forest life zone, except
that the orographic rains are heavier. These rains, being of longer duration, exert the major
influence on the composition and physionomy of the vegetation. Average annual rainfall for this
formation ranges from 2200 mm to 4400 mm. The highest precipitation recorded in the Dominican
Republic, as the annual average over a period of 15 years, is 2743 mm. The meteorological
station at which these data were recorded belongs to the South Puerto Rico Sugar Corporation at
La Romana and is located near Pedro Sanchez, on the northern side of the crest of the
Cordillera Oriental, at an elevation of 460 meters.

Temperature in this life zone varies according to location. Mean annual biotemperature is
24C near the coast, but falls to as low as 180C on the slopes of the cordilleras.

Average potential evapotranspiration may be estimated at 60 per cent less than total average
annual precipitation. In this life zone, three fifths of the rainwater escapes as runoff, so
that the rivers carry water throughout the year.

Topography and vegetation

Topography is undulating in the greater part of this life zone. Elevation varies from
sea level to 850 meters.

The natural vegetation of this life zone consists chiefly of trees. At the present time,
the forests in this zone are being felled to make way for agriculture. Such forests as remain
consist chiefly of tree species of little commercial value.

The principal indicator species of this life zone are the ciruelillo (Buchenavia capitata),
particularly in the Cordillera Septentrional and the Cordillera Oriental, and, as a general
feature, the sablito (Didymopanax Morototoni), the madrono (Byrsonima spicata) and the aguaca-
tillo (Alchornea latifolia), which are common throughout this zone.

The natural vegetation of this life zone consists chiefly of the following species:
membrillo (Prunus myrtifolia), in the forested areas of Los Haitises and on the northern flank
of the Cordillera Central; the barfa (Calophyllum brasiliense var. antillanum); the cocuyo
(Hirtella triandra) and cabirma (Guarea sp.), in the forested areas near Jarabacoa, around the
Isabel de Torres peak, in the Samana Peninsula and on the slopes of the Cordillera Oriental;
the palo de yagua (Casearia arborea), native to the areas near Barahona and Nagua; the algarroba
(Hymenaea courbaril), common in the areas around Bonao, La Vega and Miches; the balata
(Manilkara domingensis), common in these areas on the Samana Peninsula and the slopes of the
Cordillera Septentrional and the Cordillera Oriental; and the palmer manacla (Euterpe globosa),
found in forests with a certain type of subsoil. Another common species is the pine (Pinus

occidentalis), particularly on lateritic soils. This life zone contains the best stands of pine
and also has the highest yield of commercial wood per unit of area (see the information contained
in Chapter VII).

The combination of climatic conditions in this life zone favors easy and abundant natural
regeneration and rapid growth.

General considerations relative to appropriate land use

The determining factors of lands use in this life zone are soil type, gradient and species.
The cost of agricultural production is higher than in the less moist zones, first because of
the need for more intensive control of pests and diseases, which, owing to the greater humidity,
are commoner and more numerous, and second because of the periodic need to move to new land
owing to the rapidity with which most of the cultivated soils lose their fertility.

Agriculture in this life zone can result in losses being suffered in the absence of proper
technical planning that takes due account of the conditions of high humidity. In the land
settlement projects launched so far, no consideration was given to proper selection of species
or to the most suitable practices for the maintenance of soil fertility. The consequence is
that after two or three years the settlers need new land to be able to continue to operate at
profit, and those who continue to work the same land find that the intensive washing out of the
plant nutrients exhausts the soil and renders the land unproductive. An example of a species
wrongly selected is pineapple, which is unable to compete with the faster-growing weeds and,
moreover, is of inferior quality because the dry months needed for concentration of the sugar
in the fruit are lacking.

Generally speaking, the only lands suitable for intensive agriculture are those of very
fertile alluvial soils; even here, only high-yield crops can show a profit. Lands with shallow
soils and moderate gradient are the best suited for perennials such as cocoa, india rubber,
certain subtropical fruits and, on a smaller scale, coffee and tea plantations in the areas
adjacent to the Lower Montane wet forest zone.

Lands unsuitable for agriculture may be sown with selected pasture grasses. In addition
to providing fodder for cattle, this helps to prevent erosion.

Steeply sloping lands unsuitable for agriculture should be kept forested. With efficient
management and exploitation, these forests can supply wood and at the same time serve as protec-
tion for the catchment basins. Most of the land in this life zone belongs to the forestry
capability category.

In the deforested areas that were formerly covered with pine forests, the commercially
most valuable species suitable for planting is the pine (Pinus occidentalis). The sablito
and the dwarf plum are recommendable reforestation species, because of the uses for their wood,
particularly in areas where conditions favor their natural regeneration.

The guava (Psidium spp.) is found growing in the pastures in second-growth areas dispersed
throughout the country. The fruit of this tree can provide the basis for the development of a
large-scale industry. At the present time a number of different preserves and sweatmeats are
made from the fruit of the guava and find a ready market.

8. Subtropical wet forest to rain forest transition zone
This transition zone is represented on the map by the symbol S-wf t or S-wf A and the
color dark red. The areas identified cover about 26 square kilometers, i.e. only 0.06 per cent
of the total area of the country.

In identifying this area, the only factors taken into account were the presence of certain
species indicative of the S-wf and a tree fern (Cyathea sp.). Other areas with the same charac-
teristics probably exist in the country but they were not visited as this life zone is of no
practical utility.

9. Subtropical rain forest

This life zone is represented on the map by the symbol S-rf and the color purple.

Location and extent

The location of these areas is related to their physiographic position within the wet forest
zone. The largest rain forest area is located between the headwaters of the Masipedro and Jima
rivers, near mount Casabito. There are also small areas in the Cordillera Oriental and the
Cordillera Septentrional.

Lands belonging to this life zone cover about 56 square kilometers, or 0.12 per cent of
the total area of the country.

Climatic conditions

No meteorological data have been recorded for this life zone in the Dominican Republic.
However, the plant species and physionomy endow it with distinct characteristics that differ-
entiate it from the wet forest zone.

The higher rainfall received by these areas is beyond doubt attributable to orographic
rains. The highway from Bonao to Constanza runs near this life zone, traversing a region that
is clouded over for most of the year, particularly during the late afternoon, the cloud sometimes
coming down so low as ro make the road impassable.

Average potential evapotranspiration may be estimated at 75 per cent less than mean annual
rainfall. In this life zone, more than three fourths of the rain reaches the'rivers, which
therefore carry water throughout the year.

Topography and vegetation

Relief is broken over the greater part of this zone. Elevation ranges from 400 to 850 meters.

The natural vegetation consists of trees, characteristically covered with parasitic and epiphytic
plants. The species are little known. The major indicator species include the tree fern
(Cyathea sp.) and the lirio (Linociera sp.).

The species native to this life zone have a much more rapid growth than those of the
wet forest zone and possess abundant natural regeneration.

General considerations relative to appropriate land use

Because of the excessive humidity, the lands of the Subtropical rain forest life zone are
value less for agriculture, stockraising or forestry. It is essential that the natural plant
cover of these lands be preserved, as a means of controlling runoff and soil erosion.

10. Lower Montane moist forest

This life zone is represented on the map by the symbol LM-mf and the color yellowish green.

Location and extent

Most of the lands belonging to this life zone are located on the foothill spurs of the
Cordillera Central, between the S-mf and LM-wf life zones. They are generally of broken relief
and have soils of low fertility. In the Sierra de Neiba and the Sierra de Bahoruco, the hill
slope lands above 800 meters belong to this life zone.

The Lower Montane moist forest covers about 3 214 square kilometers, equal to 6.7 per cent
of the total area of the country.

Climatic conditions

The climatic conditions characteristic of this life zone are the most favorable to human
and animal life. These areas are, however, only sparsely populated, owing partly to the low
fertility of the soils, the lack of communications and the fact that the settlers have not yet
developed suitable techniques for the use of these lands. Temperatures are moderate and very
similar to those characteristic of a temperate climate. Rainfall, though irregular, is adequate
to maintain a certain amount of moisture in the soil for much of the year.

The period of heaviest rainfall is from April through November. Average annual rainfall
varies from place to place, from 900 to 1 800 mm.

Temperature shows little diurnal or annual variation. The lowest temperatures are recorded,
generally speaking, at dawn and, during the low rainfall period, at night. From December to
February the temperature may fall to -1C, giving rise to the possibility of frost. However,
average annual temperature varies from 180 to 120C. Mean annual biotemperature for this life
zone is about equal to mean annual temperature, since the latter never exceeds 30C and only
intermittently falls below -lC. Thermal conditions in this life zone are a limiting factor
on the development of the majority of crops sensitive to low temperatures.

Average potential evapotranspiration is equal to total annual rainfall. The streams that
rise in this life zone therefore carry water only during the months of highest rainfall.

Topography and vegetation

Relief in this life zone is largely broken. The areas of moderate gradient are small and
dispersed, forming narrow valleys which lack communications. Elevation ranges from 800 to
2 200 meters.

The primary natural vegetation consists chiefly of pine. Other conifers found, particu-
larly on the southern slopes of the Cordillera Central, are the savin (Juniperus gracilior) and
Podocarpus Buchii. The principal broadleaved species include Garrya Fadyenii and Vaccinium
cubense, which are characteristic of the areas near Constanza and the Sierra de Bahoruco;
Rapanea ferruginea, common on the slopes of the northern part of the Cordillera Central, near
Jarabacoa and San Jose de las Matas; the guacima (Guazama tomentosa), a species that is found
from the Subtropical moist forest zone up to an elevation of 1 300 meters, chiefly in the area
around Barahona, Jarabacoa and the Cordillera Septentrional, and Buddleia domingensis, a species
found in the areas located close to the Lower Montane wet forest life zone in the Cordillera

In the Lower Montane altitudinal belt, the volume of usable timber per unit of area is on
average lower than that produced by the forests of the Subtropical base region. Also, the
secondary products of the "cuaba" pine forest deriving from this altitudinal belt yield lower
percentages of turpentine and oil (see Chapter VII). The lower volume of production is consid-
ered to be attributable to the slower growth of the vegetation in this life zone as a result
of the lower temperatures.

The native species are characterized by easy natural regeneration, because of the moisture
in the soil, and moderate growth.

General considerations relative to appropriate land use

Ecologic characteristics are excellent for agriculture, stockraising and forestry. For
the species utilized, pests and diseases are sporadic. Agriculture is restricted by the fact
that the areas with suitable soils are very small. Stockraising, if well run, can yield good
results, especially if grazing is supplemented by artificial pastures of selected varieties.
Because of the relief and the soil characteristics, most of the land belonging to this life
zone is suitable only for forestry.

Intensive agriculture is possible on slightly undulating lands with deep soils. The major
crops include potatoes, corn, wheat and various types of vegetables. Slightly broken lands
with shallow soils can be used to grow certain species of fruit trees, sucn as plum, peach, apple,
cherimoya and other temperate species. Moderately steep lands are best suited for improved
pastures, such as alfalfa, clover and other forage legumes capable of supporting dairy cattle.
Unfortunately, agriculture and stockraising in this life zone have not been conducted in accord-
ance with scientific principles. Species have been cultivated that rapidly exhaust the soils,
without any soil conservation measures being taken to prevent erosion. The result is that
large areas exist that have been denuded of their vegetation, some of which are covered with
unselected pasture while others have simply been abandoned.

The greater part of this life zone consists of forestland where the introduction on the
part of the Government is called for of improved measures for administration and control of
their exploitation. Reforestation programs can be developed on these lands, using native and
exotic forest species. The principal native species usable for reforestation is the pine
(Pinus occidentalis), which forms stands of good trees at elevations up to 1500meters. The
principal exotic species recommended are: Pinus pseudostrobus (Guatemala), Pinus oocarpa,
Pinus montezumae, Pinus strobus var. Chiapensis, Eucalyptus viminalis, Eucalyptus maculata
and Eucalyptus globulus.

11. Lower Montane moist forest to dry forest transition zone

This transition zone is represented on the map by the symbols LM-mf < and LM-mf V and
the color yellow-green. The areas identified are very small, totalling only about 23 square
kilometers, or 0.05 per cent of the total area of the country.

Because of their physiographic situation, these transition areas are exposed to the
influence of the winds, with the result that precipitation is sometimes lower than for the
LM-mf zone. Where crops are grown on soils of low moisture-retention capacity, harvests may
be lost because of lack of soil moisture even though the temperature is the same as for the
LM-mf zone.

12. Lower Montane moist forest to wet forest transition zone

This transition zone is represented on the map by the symbols LM-mf > and LM-mf A and
the color blue-green. The areas identified cover about 243 square kilometers, or 0.5 per cent
of the total area of the country, though it is probable that other areas with the same charac-
teristics exist that have not been mapped.

These transition areas occupy the highest elevations within the LM-mf and have a different
characteristic vegetation from the LM-mf because of their higher rainfall (1 800 to 2 000 mm.).
Their vegetation characteristics lead to confusion with the LM-wf zone and precise demarcation
between them is therefore difficult.

13. Lower Montane wet forest

This life zone is represented on the map by the symbol LM-wf and the color light green.

Location and extent

This life zone extends chiefly across the foothill spurs of the Cordillera Central, which
is the source of the tributaries of the major rivers of the Dominican Republic. There are other
LM-wf areas in the higher parts of the Sierra de Neiba and the Sierra de Bahoruco.

The LM-wf areas at lower elevations are confused with the S-wf zone, particularly where the
natural vegetation is not representative, so that differentiation between these life zones is

The total area of lands belonging to this life zone is 3 557 square kilometers, equal to
7.4 percent of the total area of the country.

Climatic conditions

Climatic conditions in this life zone are characterized by temporary hoarfrosts and a h1b
rainfall than the LM-mf.

No meteorological data are available for lands belonging to this life zone. However, total
annual rainfall may be estimated at upwards of 2 000 mm. The rainfall system is similar to that
of the LM-mf, although the orographic rains are heavier.

Average potential evapotranspiration may be estimated at 55 percent less than mean annual
precipitation. Only about 50 percent of rainfall escapes by evapotranspiration, so that the rivers
carry water for a large part of the year.

Topography and vegetation

Relief in this life zone is generally broken. Elevation ranges from 850 to 2 100 meters.

Natural vegetation consists chiefly of tree species. The principal indicator species that
help to identify this zone include: Garrya Fadyenii, Weinmannia pinnata, Oreopanax capitatum,
Brunellia comocladifolia and Didymopanax tremulum.

The most valuable of the natural forest species in these areas are pine and certain broadleaved
species, such as ebony (Dospyros ebenaster) and almond (Prunus accidentalis).

This life zone contains the largest area of forest in the country. In some places these
forests have been partially exploited, but virgin areas still remain, chiefly on very steep terrain.

The species native to this life zone are characterized by easy natural regeneration and
moderate growth.

General considerations relative to appropriate land use

From the ecologic point of view the lands belonging to this life zone offer little possibility
for agricultural activities. They are eminently of forestry vocation and in some places it is
necessary that the natural vegetation remain uncut in order to control runoff and avoid erosion
of the soils of the hydrographic basins. The permanent supply of irrigation water and the country's
potential future forest wealth are largely dependent on the uses to which the lands of this life
zone are put.

The Government should establish national forests in these areas to enable it to exercise
better control and to permit utilization of the resources on the basis of rational management

14. Lower Montane wet forest to rain forest transition zone
This transition zone is represented on the map by the symbols LM-wf > and LM-wf A and the
color light red. The areas identified cover a total of about 20 square kilometers, or 0.04
percent of the total area of the country.

Identification of these transition areas was based on plant physionomy and the presence of
tree ferns as an idicator species. It is probable, however, that these areas receive a higher
rainfall (3 000 to 4 000 mm) because of their physiographic location.

15. Lower Montane rain forest
This life zone is represented on the map by the symbol LM-rf and the color light purple.

Location and extent

This zone is located in the eastern part of the Cordillera Central, between the tributaries
of the Nizao and Yaque del Norte Rivers, and in the western part between the tributaries of the
San Juan River.

The total area of this life zone is about 36 square kilometers, equal to 0.07 percent of
the total area of the country.

Climatic conditions

Like the other formations of the Lower Montane altitudinal belt, this life zone is characterized
by the occurrence of hoarfrost at certain times of the year. Total annual precipitacion may be
estimated at upwards of 4 000 mm. Average potential evapotranspiration may be estimated at 76
percentless than average annual rainfall, so that about three quarters of the rain is lost by
runoff into the rivers.

Topography and vegetation

Relief in this life zone is typically broken. Elevation ranges from 1 600 to 1 800 meters.

The vegetation is characterized by the predominance of tree ferns and the presence of parasitic
andepiphytic plants which cover the trunks of the trees, which belong to little known species.

General considerations relative to appropriate land use

From the ecologic point of view the lands of this life zone have no value for agriculture
or forestry. Their natural vegetation must be left undisturbed in order to control runoff and
avoid soil erosion.

16. Montane wet forest

This life zone is represented on the map by the symbol M-wf and the color blue green.

Location and extent

The lands belonging to this life zone are located chiefly at the highest elevations of the
Cordillera Central, where the highest peaks in the island of Hispaniola and in the Caribbean
region are located.
The total area covered by this life zones is about 303 square kilometers, or 0.6 percent
of the total area of the country.

Climatic conditions

Climatic conditions in this life zone differ from those in the LM-wf in that frosts are more
frequent. Total annual rainfall may be estimated at 1 500 mm.

Average potential evapotranspiration may be estimated at 60 percent less than mean annual

Topography and vegetation

The lands belonging to this life zone are for the most part of broken relief. In the Dominican
Republic, elevation for the Montane altitudinal belt begins at 2 100 meters above sea level.

The natural vegetation consists of trees of low stature and with physinomic and floral
characteristics that distinguish it from that of other formations.

The chief tree species is the pine (Pinus occidentalis), which is of low stature and very
irregular shape in this life zone. Generally speaking, the pine trees are found in open stands
with a very low volume of usable wood per unit of surface area (see Chapter VII). The commonest
non-coniferous species found in this life zone include: Buddleia domingensis, Lyonia spp.,
Weinmannia pinnata and Verbena domingensis.

General considerations relative to aDDroDriate land use

The lands belonging to this life zone have no agricultural value. Forestry can be practised
only on gently sloping lands and with rational management. The area around the Pico Duarte
(3 175 meters) is a very suitable spot for the establishment of a national park and the devel-
opment of tourism.

In areas of steeply sloping land the natural plan cover must be preserved in order to
protect the catchment basins.




The purposes of the survey of the geologic and mineral resources of the Dominican Republic
were: a) to obtain basic geomorphologic data for use in connection with the soil mapping
program; b) to compile basic geologic data from various sources and to organize them in the
form of a map that would serve as the starting point for the subsequent studies recommended;
and c) to study mining activity in the country and to recommend a program for development of the
mining industry. For the accomplishment of these purposes, the following specific activities
were carried out during the period 1965-66:

1. Study of the available documentation on the geology and mineralogy of the country.

2. Study of 1:60 000 aerial photographs.

3. Field investigations.

4. Preparation of a 1:250 000 compiled geologic map.

5. Furnishing of geologic data for the purposes of the soil mapping program.
6. Preparation of a 1:500 000 geomorphologic map.

7. Formulation of a mineral resources exploitation development program.

The present chapter contains a description of the methods followed in carrying out these
activities and also a brief evaluation of the country's potential mineral wealth.


1. Study of the Available Geologic and Mineralogic Documentation
A study of the available documentation on the geology and mineralogy of the country was
carried out in order to obtain background information and specific data for use in connection
with other phases of the work.

The principal documentation comprises the report and the 1:100 000 map by Bowin on the
central region of the Dominican Republic; the report and the 1:100 000 map by Palmer on the
Jarabacoa-Monci6n area; the report and 1:50 000 map by Nagle of the Puerto Plata area; the study
by Bermudez with certain maps of the tertiary formations in the Cibao and San Juan, Azua and
Lake Enriquillo areas; the report by Baum on the mineral potential of the country, and finally,
the work by Vaughn and collaborators which, although it predates the other studies, contains
much useful information. These works and others that were studied are listed in the bibliography
given at the end of this chapter.

2. Study of Aerial Photographs
About 1 400 aerial photographs on a scale of 1:60 000, covering the greater part of the
country, were taken around 1958. Also available are 1:50 000 photomosaics covering the entire
country, and a number of topographic maps on the same scale, shown in Figure 1 in the Introduc-
tion. The aerial photographs were studied stereoscopically, the contacts were traced, and a
number of structures were identified. It was endeavored to identify rock types on the basis of
the photographic image and on the existing maps and reports. The data obtained from the aerial
photographs were transferred to the mosaics on a scale of 1:50 000 for convenience in their later
use in the field investigations.

3. Field Investigations
A total of about 15 weeks, broken into various periods spread over the duration of the
mission, was spent in field studies for the purpose of carrying out verifications and adjustments
to the work based on the aerial photographs and of obtaining certain information on lithologic
and structural characteristics. The field investigations were spread fairly uniformly over the
country. Almost all the observations were restricted to areas accessible by land rover, with
the result that, as is usual in investigations of this kind, the areas of most difficult access
were studied in least detail. In addition, less time was spent on areas for which suitable maps
were already available.

4. Preparation of a 1:250 000 Compiled Geologic Map
For the purpose of compilation of the greater part of the major geologic data available,
a geologic map on a scale of 1:250 000 was prepared, using the existing reports and maps and the
data derived from the interpretation of the aerial photographs and from the field investigations.
The map provides information on lithology, age and geology and also partial information on
structure. The works of Bowin, Palmer and Nagle provided the sources for the areas covered by
them; that of Bermidez served as the principal source of information on the western Cibao and the
Azua, San Juan and Lake Enriquillo areas, and the information on the structure of the southwestern
region was taken largely from the maps by Guerra Pena. Other areas were identified by correlation
of photographic interpretation, field investigations and observations derived from previous works,
including four small-scale maps of the entire country prepared, respectively, by Zoppis, Guerra
Peia, Ross and Varney, and Bowin. The greater part of the information on minerals was taken
from Baum and Guerra Peia. The hydrologic data were drawn up in collaboration with J.H. Montanari,
the Mission's hydrologist. The map was drawn in such a way as to be self-explanatory.

5. Obtaining of Geomorphologic Data for the Soil Mapping Program
Part of the photointerpretation and field investigations work was carried out with the
collaboration of the experts responsible for preparing the soil maps, with the object of furnishing
general geomorphologic data that would facilitate the description of the soils of certain areas.
For a full explanation of the methodology used, the reader is referred to the chapter of this
report on soils studies.

6. Preparation of a 1:500 000 Geomorphologic Map
To facilitate a better general understanding of the country, a geomorphologic map on a
scale of 1:500 000 was prepared on the basis of the data derived from other phases of the work.
The map was drawn so as to be largely self-explanatory.

Evaluation of Potential Mineral Wealth

Taking as the starting point the investigations carried out and the documentation studied,
a general evaluation was made of the country's potential availability of metallic and non-metallic
mineral resources.

Of interest in connection with the promotion of mining development in the Dominican Republic
is the booklet Opportunities for the Less Developed Nations in the Mineral Resource Field, by
Chase Manhattan Bank officials W. F. Butler and G. E. Kruger, from which the following extract
is quoted:

The reader can readily see that there is as yet insufficient data to warrant a guess
as to whether oil will or will not be found in the post-Eocene belt of northern Puer-
to Rico; much more data is needed. One dry hole, No. 4 CPR, cannot be termed an ade-
quate test of possibilities of the area. The writer believes that a number of test
wells will be necessary; these coupled with detailed geologic mapping may yield an

At this time one can only say that reservoir rocks and traps suitable for accumulation
of petroleum or natural gas probably are present. Whether or not there is oil or gas
to occupy these zones is not known. (2. Geology of Kewanee Interamerican Oil Company
Test Well Number 4 CPR Northern Puerto Rico by R.P. Briggs Puerto Rico Mining Com-
mission San Juan,1961).

The point so well made in this statement is an important factor in any consideration of the
country's potential mineral resources and related economic benefits.

The general geology of certain regions of the country is such as to suggest the existence
of zones of mineralization. The Cordillera Central, in particular, is a region of metamorphic,
sedimentary and volcanic rocks, with intrusions of igneous rocks and both acid and basic batholiths.
These conditions are indicative of mineralized zones in various parts of the world. The climate
--both present and past--of various parts of the country is favorable to the occurrence of
concentrated residual deposits of presumable commercial value. The present bauxite and nickel
deposits now being worked (see Notes 15 and 16 to the Geologic Map) are of this kind, and possibil-
ities exist of other deposits of these minerals and perhaps also of iron. The characteristics
of the sedimentary basins of the Cibao, San Juan, Lake Enriquillo and Azua sedimentary basins
suggest the existence of deposits of petroleum and of evaporation minerals such as salt and
gypsum, which are at present used, as well as of others that could be used as raw materials for
potash fertilizers. For the locations of these zones, see the geologic and geomorphologic maps
and the relative explanatory notes.

The Geologic Map shows past and present mining localities and also places of potential
interest, and refers to the studies contained in the reports of Baum, Guerra Pena, Martyn, Palmer
and Bowin (explanatory notes 1 through 24). Of particular interest, of course, are the indications
with respect to possible occurrences of copper, iron, molybdenum, manganese and petroleum.

Puerto Rico and Cuba are in many ways geologically similar to the Dominican Republic; it is
therefore reasonable to expect that they will show similarities with respect to mineralization.
In Cuba there exist--or have existed--commercially valuable deposits of copper, iron, chromium,
manganese and nickel. The recent development of copper in Puerto Rico is of particular interest.
Two large low-assay (0.8 percent) copper deposits have been discovered during the last six years.
and mining is about to begin. Unfortunately, it is not easy to obtain reliable information.
The figures quoted below have been obtained from various sources but appear to be reasonably correct.
Production from these deposits will be about 70 000 tons of copper a year, with a value, at 36
cents a lb., of US$50 million. Of course, the proportion of this sum that will accrue to the
Puerto Rican economy will depend on the degree of local processing of the ore, a matter that is
now the subject of negotiations. At all events, a considerable part of the annual sales of
US$50 million will be disbursed in the form of wages and purchases in Puerto Rico. Important
also is the initial operational investment, a large part of which has already flowed into the
Puerto Rican economy. What is most interesting is that the possibilities for mining the similar
deposits in the Dominican Republic appear to be good. Among the key indices of the deposits is
the presence of a type of primary quartz-diorite-granodiorite primary rock. There are other factors
also,but the number of times that the frequency with which this type of mother rock--indicated
on the Geologic Map by the symbols to and toh--appears, plus the proofs of the existence of copper
in the Dominican Republic as indicated in Notes 8 through 11 to the Geologic Map, suggest extremely
interesting possibilities of deposits of this type.

Cuba has had more success than Puerto Rico in petroleum exploration. Many more explorations
have been carried out in Cuba and a number of oilfields are already being worked. The figures

for 1964, 1965 and the first half of 1966 indicate an annual production of about 73 000 barrels.l/
No oil has been found in Puerto Rico, but a much smaller number of test drillings has been
carried out. The situation is summarized by R.P. Briggs, in the conclusions of a study of the
possibilities of the existence of petroleum in northern Puerto Rico, as follows:
The less developed nations maintaining a free enterprise economy (to which thischapter
is addressed) have real and substantial opportunities to lay a foundation for general
economic progress by using their mineral resources. Most of these nations have mineral
resources which could be developed. By seizing these opportunities, nations seeking
rapid economic development can secure a source of foreign exchange earnings to finance
the imports needed for growth and, at the same time, increase the technical knowledge
andwell-beingof an important part of their population.

History clearly shows the manner in which most of the currently industrialized nations
have used mineral resources to support their development. Indeed, few nations have
managed to achieve a high level of income without a firm base of mineral resource
development. The main exceptions appear to be the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark,
and New Zealand, and the last two have based their prosperity on a highly efficient
agriculture. Economic growth in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France,
Germany, and Russia was importantly based on the use of indigenous mineral resources.2/

A similar assertion could be made with respect to the present status of oil prospecting in
the Dominican Republic.
The geologic characteristics of many areas are unknown. The status of geologic mapping is
indicated on the Geologic Map which appears on the index map in the part referring to sources.
However, even the maps of Bowin and Palmer differ considerably with respect to the detail of
field investigations, because of difficulties of access to many areas; moreover, it does not
appear that the photogeologic map of Guerra Peia has been verified on the ground. It is clear
that adequate mapping is lacking of many areas considered to be potential sources of ores and oil.
The existing maps will undoubtedly be useful for any new investigation, but in view of the recent
availability of 1:20 000 aerial photographs,,many of the areas mapped could be restudied or
checked, with very useful results. In addition, although some gravimetric work has been done
in the potential oil-bearing basins, no seismic work has been carried out and the test wells
(marked on the Geologic Map) are few in number and not very well distributed. The result is
that there is a marked lack of information concerning the nature and occurrence of the geologic
conditions conducive to mineralization.
The following conclusions may be derived from the foregoing: 1) it appears that areas
exist where possibilities of the occurrence of commercially valuable minerals are good; 2) the
tests made and the maps prepared are insufficient to indicate the most promising locations and
to provide the necessary information to persuade a commercial enterprise to make the required
investment for proving and exploitation of the mineral deposits. The mineral resources devel-
opment program presented in Part 2 of this report is based chiefly on these considerations.
Other necessary action to promote mineral development is revision of the legislation
regulating the mining industry, to adapt it to modern-day improved practices and to ensure that
it serves the best interests of the country. It is desired particularly to emphasize in this
connection that in exchange for, or as the price of, concessions, holders should be required to
undertake to carry out a minimum volume of exploration work. Bearing in mind that a number of
oil-prospecting and many ore-prospecting concessions have been granted, the volume of exploration
carried out by each concessionnaire should be carefully reviewed and studied when the concession
becomes due for renewal, which should be every two years. This point is discussed in the mineral
resources development program presented in Part 2. Review of the country's mining laws and
regulations is an obvious and normal necessity considering that the investment is envisaged of
a considerable amount of public funds for the development of the mining industry.
In addition to review and amendment of mining legislation, there is a need for a program
of advisory assistance to the Departamento de Mineria in connection with the application of these
laws. At the present time, this Department lacks the technical capacity, and in some fields
also the directive capacity, required for the proper implementation of laws and regulations of
an eminently technical nature. This problem can be alleviated by means of a program combining
consultative services, technical advisory assistance and study fellowships.
1. The Oil and Gas Journal (Vol. 64, No. 130, July 25, 1966), p. 163.
2. Briggs, R.P. Geology of Kewanee Interamerican Oil Company, Test Well No. 4 CPR,
Northern Puerto Rico (San Juan, P.R.: Puerto Rico Mining Commission, 1961).




The purpose of the reconnaissance-level soils study carried out in the Dominican Republic
was threefold: to provide a technological basis for agricultural development planning, to
supply working data for the agricultural extension programs, including those initiated by other
international bodies, and, finally, to furnish a basis for a more detailed classification of
the soils of the country, to be carried out later by the pertinent national agencies.

Generally speaking, the soils mapping was carried out at the reconnaissance level. In
some cases, however, it was necessary to map the soils in greater detail because of local
interest, and in others to limit the survey to a more general level because of lack of time.
Thus, for example, a more detailed survey was carried out of the Yuna River basin because of
the interest of the Dominican Government in a land settlement project in that area; on the
other hand, in the mountainous areas of the Cordillera Central and the Sierras of Neiba and
Bahoruco, the lack of time, the difficulties of access and the relief characteristics, which
overrode all the other classification criteria, restricted the study to a less detailed level.

The different degrees of intensity of the soils study are depicted on the map entitled
"Degree of Detail of Soil Mapping" (fig. IV-1), which distinguishes three degrees of in-
tensity: high, medium and low.
1. High Intensity: This corresponds to a semidetailed survey in which the soils
series were first identified and then grouped into associations on the basis of
regional criteria. The chief examples of studies at this level were the Yuna
River basin and much of the Caribbean Coastal Plain.
2. Medium Intensity: This corresponds to a reconnaissance-level survey in which
the predominant soils series were identified delimited and later grouped into
associations on the basis of a geographic and agrologic criterion. In some cases,
however, soils that were not differentiated within the association were included.

3. Low Intensity: This corresponds to a semigeneralized survey in which the most of
the principal soil associations were identified and delimited by geographic cri-
terion, and the predominant series in each association were described.


The methodology used in the soils reconnaissance of the Dominican Republic adhered
wherever possible to the procedures laid down for reconnaissance-level surveys in the
Soil Survey Manual, Handbook 18 of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service. However, time limita-
tions and varying requirements of intensiveness of the study forced technicians to adapt the
theoretical possibilities to the real conditions; in so doing, they sought to overcome the
difficulties encountered by obtaining an over-all result that satisfied the requirements of
the study and at the same time defined clearly the gaps left which were to be filled in a
later study.

Before the soils survey was started, the 1:60 000 aerial photographs were studied in
order to delimit geomorphologic units that might correspond to soils associations and, in
some cases, even to series. The results of the photointerpretation were transferred to the
1:50 000 photomosaics or, when these were lacking, to the topographic sheets on the same

Because of the lack of analytical information on the soils studied and the time neces-
sary to carry out and process profile descriptions in the detail required to determine the
modal characteristics, the classification of the soils into large groups and the location
of the soils recognized within the new classification set forth in the Seventh Approxi-
mation to a Comprehensive System of Classification 1/ could not be done.

Definition of the soil units, particularly from the point of view of soil genesis,
was greatly assisted by the collaboration of the technicians responsible for the geology and
geomorphologic studies; in turn, the pedologic interpretation facilitated to some extent the
interpretation of certain geologic characteristics.

The principles followed for the soils nomenclature were: a) to assign the same name to
series recognized and correlated with soils existing in Puerto Rico and Cuba; b) to accept
the names of series established in the course of previous studies in the Dominican Republic
when the characteristics of soils identified in the two studies coincided; and c) to assign
new names to soils not falling within group) or group b), using wherever possible geo-
graphic names that corresponded to localities close to the site of the representative pro-
files of the series concerned. This was not possible in all cases, however, because of the
frequency with which certain names occur in different partsof the country.

The present chapter presents only a summary of the report on the soils study; because
of its scope and the purely specialized interest of the detailed descriptions of the soils
associations and series, it has been considered preferable to publish the complete report in the
form of a separate appendix. However, in order to provide greater information on the cartographic
units mentioned, a summary table of the soils series recognized in the Dominican Republic and of
their most salient characteristics is included at the end of this chapter. This table indicates
the headings of the Appendix under which descriptions of individual series will be found. Both in
this chapter and in the Appendix, the Roman numerals indicate the geomorphic regions according
to the system used on the soil maps. Thus, both in this chapter and in the Appendix, the soil
maps and the geomorphologic map constitute a reciprocal reference system by which it is pos-
sible to inter-relate the information contained in any or all of these sources.

Soils of the Atlantic Coastal Plain (I)

The Atlantic Coastal Plain consists of a narrow, intermittent strip in the northern part
of the Dominican Republic which runs from Monte Cristi on the west to Nagua on the east,
paralleling the northern slopes of the Cordillera Septentrional. It is interrupted in its
western section by high limestone elevations of the Cordillera, which reach as far as the sea;
in its eastern section, between Sabaneta de Yasica and the San Juan River, by serpentine
mountains; and on the extreme east by the Pleistocene terraces of the Promontorio de Cabrera.

In the elongated coastal strip, rainfall varies widely from area to area, with a progres-
sive and constant decrease from east to west. Thus, average annual precipitation is 2 373 mm.
at the eastern end of the Plain, 2 339 mm. at Cabrera, 2 053 mm. at Gaspar Hernandez, 1 788 mm.
at Puerto Plata, 1 320 mm. at Luper6n, and 644 mm. at Monte Cristi, at the western end of the
Plain. The progressive decrease in rainfall from east to west can be attributed to the fact
that the winds generally blow in that direction and progressively lose their moisture as they
advance westward.

The soils that have developed in this physiographic region may be classified, in general
terms, into six groups which occur with little variation throughout the Plain:

a. deep residual soils, formed from calcareous deposition materials;

b. shallow residual soils formed from calcareous rocks;
i. Soil Survey Staff, Soil Classification A Comprehensive System (7th Approximation)
(Washington, D.C.: Soil Conservation Service, U.S.D.A., August 1960, 265 pp.

c. recent alluvial soils;

d. residual soils formed from acid deposition clays;

e. residual soils formed from tufas;

f. sandy soils formed by marine deposition; and

g. coastal swamps.

The principal characteristics of each of these soil groups are described below.
a. The deep residual soils formed from calcareous deposition materials are possibly
those of the greatest importance from the points of view of total area and agri-
cultural value. The genetic materials of these soils have accumulated by deposi-
tion under lake conditions. The resulting soils are clayey and brown in color,
level and generally poorly drained. In some cases they have a high ground water
level which limits even further their use for agriculture.
Although the descriptions of the soils in these associations will be made ac-
cording to their location within the Coastal Plain; it is considered desirable to
list here the associations that consist chiefly of soils with the above charac-
teristics. These associations are the following:
Imbert-Luper6n-Piragua (96-97-98) association
La Isabela-Las Lagunas (94-95) association
Monte Llano-Las Lagunas (99-95) association
Las Lagunas-Yasica (95-111) association

b. The shallow residual soils formed from calcareous rocks occur throughout the Coastal
Plain. Generally speaking, those located along the coast and formed from hard lime-
stones are red in color, while those formed from unhardened calcareous material,
which generally occur inland, are brown in color. In the former case the relief is
almost always flat, while in the second case it varies from undulating to slightly
hilly and steep. Another characteristic that differentiates these soils is the
presence of surface rock in the red coastline soils, a factor that is very unfavor-
able to their use for agriculture. Although this characteristic is present also in the
case of the soils on soft limestone, these also exhibit another limiting factor, which
is their steep relief.

The associations that correspond to this group are the following:
Imbert-Luper6n-Piragua (96-97-98) association
Matanzas-Jalonga (50-53) association

It may be noted that the Imbert-Luper6n-Piragua (96-97-98) Association belongs
both to the group of associations of residual soils on deposition materials and to
the group of residual soils on calcareous rock. The reason is that in this case the
soils have been grouped by reference to their similar relief characteristics and
that it was not possible to determine the limits of occurrence of each.

c. The recent alluvial soils are of generally light texture and have formed along the
banks of the rivers as a consequence of deposition of stream-transported materials.
Generally speaking, they do not present a developed profile and are calcareous in
nature. They are fertile soils with good drainage and permeability but present the
limiting factor of flood risk. To this group belong the:

Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
d. The residual soils formed from acid deposition clays are generally of grayish-brown
color and light texture. They have poor drainage and their use is limited to pasture.
The chief characteristic of these soils is their low effective depth, the result of
the presence in the subsoil of an impermeable cap consisting of pellets. This cap,
which sometimes occurs very close to the surface, varies in thickness and constitutes
a physical barrier to root penetration.

The soil association established on the basis of the above characteristics is the:

Pimentel-Fantino-Cotui (3-24-19) association

e. The residual soils formed from tufas exhibit varying characteristics, depending on
their genetic material. Those corresponding to the La Larga (44) series are shallow
and of lighter texture, while those belonging to the Lim6n (46) series, formed from
andesitic tufas, are deep and more clayey in texture. In this region they include a
single association:

La Larga-Lim6n (44-46) association

f. The sandy soils formed by marine deposition exhibit no profile development and are merely
depositions of sand resulting from the continuous action of the sea. In the Atlantic
Coastal Plain dunes also occur that have stabilized and are at present used for pasture.

g. The coastal swamps occur along the northern coast as isolated areas of permanently
flooded land that sustain a characteristic vegetation, dominated by the mangrove.
They consist essentially of plastic clays with a high content of salts, derived from
coralline limestone. These soils have not been used for any form of agriculture up
to now. Their conservation in the natural state contributes to the maintenance of a
suitable environment for wildlife and reception of the drainage from the high lands.
Their destruction would result in an advance of marine salinity toward the soils that
border them.

To facilitate description of the soils associations that occur in the Atlantic Coastal
Plain, the latter has been divided into subregions on the basis of geographic location
and climatic conditions, among which rainfall is the chief differentiating factor.
These subregions are: a) Soils of the Lowlands to the East of the Bajabonico River;
b) Soils of the Lowlands of Luper6n; c) Soils of the Puerto Plata Plain; d) Soils of
the Yasica River Valley, and e) Soils of the Nagua and San Juan River Plains.

These subregions, although they present generally similar soils characteristics, differ
with respect to rainfall frequency and intensity, which in many cases governs their
agricultural capability. Generally speaking, it may be stated that the best soils are
located in the Puerto Plata Plain and in the Lowlands of Luper6n, and that the more
poorly drained soils are located in the Lowlands to the west of the Bajabonico River
(east of La Isabela) and in the San Juan-Nagua Plains.

1. Soils of the Lowlands to the East of the Bajabonico River

This subregion, which is located at the eastern end and in the area of lowest rainfall of
the Atlantic Coastal Plain, extends from Punta Mangle on the west to the Bajabonico River on the
east. The soils associations that characterize this subregion are:
Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
Carbonera-Habana-Quemados (116-60-151) association
La Isabela-Las Lagunas (94-95) association
Matanzas-Jalonga (50-53) association
Coastal swamp (100)

Of these associations, those of the greatest importance for agriculture are the recent
alluvials, particularly of the Bajabonico River, and the La Isabela-Las Lagunas.

2. Soils of the Lowlands of Luper6n

The Luper6n subregion is characterized by the presence of soils with a somewhat better
established drainage than that of the extreme eastern part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. It
shares the same soils associations as subregion 1, plus the Imbert-Luper6n-Piragua (96-97-98)
association. This subregion also covers a larger area than subregion 1. Moreover, its average
annual rainfall is 300 mm, higher, with 1320 mm.for the city of Luper6n for which this subregion
is named.

The following are the soils associations that occur in this subregion:

Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
Carbonera-Habana-Quemados (116-60-151) association
Imbert-Luper6n-Piragua (96-97-98) association
La Isabela-Las Lagunas (96-97-98) association
Matanzas-Jalonga (50-53) association
Coastal Swamp (100)
The first four exhibit characteristics similar to the associations that occur in the
Lowlands to the east of the Bajabonico River. However, the reader is referred to the Appendix
The Soils of the Dominican Republic, which contains notes concerning their special characteristics
in the Lowlands of Luper6n subregion.

3. Soils of the Puerto Plata Plain
This subregion of the Atlantic Coastal Plain extends from the vicinity of the city of
Puerto Plata eastward to the neighborhood of Sosda. Its widest part is in the plain formed by
both sides of the lower course of the Cam6 River.

This subregion has a higher annual rainfall than those located to the west and a lower
rainfall than those located to the east. The city of Puerto Plata receives an average annual
rainfall of 1 788 mm.

The soils associations that occur in this subregion present quite similar characteristics to
those of the subregions already described. In this case, however, only a small area is accounted
for by the Pimentel-Fantino-Cotui (3-24-19) association, the largest area of which occurs at
the eastern end of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. It also occurs in the regions of the Eastern
Cibao Valley (IV.2) and in the western part of the Caribbean Coastal Plain (X).

The following soils associations occur in the Puerto Plata Plain:

Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
La Larga-Lim6n (44-46) association
Monte Llano-Las Lagunas (99-95) association
Pimentel-Fantino-Cotui (3-24-19) association
Coastal swamp (100)
Coastal beach (107)

4. Soils of the Yasica River Valley
The YAsica River Valley is located in the eastern part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain and
extends from Cabo Macoris on the west to Punta Gorda on the east.

Average annual rainfall in this subregion ranges from about 1 700 mm to over 2 000 mm,
being lowest in the western part of the subregion which borders the Puerto Plata Plain (1.3),
and highest in its eastern part, which borders the San Juan River Plain (1.5). The city of
Gaspar Hernandez, which is located in this subregion, has an average annual rainfall of 2 053 mm.

The predominant soils of this valley have developed from calcareous clays deposited under
lake conditions. They consist of calcareous clayey soils with poor drainage. Another group
of importance, by reason both of its extent and its fertility, is composed of the recent alluvial
soils of the YAsica River. Sandy, acid savanna soils with a clayey subsoil and a low agricul-
tural capability also occur. The Valley also contains large areas of coastal swamps, coastal
beaches and dunes which have only a limited agricultural capability except as factors in the
equilibrium of the other soils of the Valley.

The following are the soils associations that have been recognized in the Yasica River

Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
La Larga-Hato Mayor (44-45) association
Las Lagunas-Yasica (95-111) association

Pimentel-Fantino-Cotui (3-24-19) association
Coastal swamp (100)
Coastal beach and dunes (107-108)

5. Soils Associations of the Nagua and San Juan River Plains

The subregion formed by the Nagua and San Juan River plains is the largest in area of all
the subregions that make up the Atlantic Coastal Plain. It is located at the eastern end of
the region --the area with the highest rainfall--and forms a unit which is interrupted at its
coastal extreme on the norhteast by the limestone elevations of the Promontorio de Cabrera.
It extends from Punta Gorda, near the Playa de Magante on the west to the city of Nagua on the
east. It contains two large towns, Rio San Juan and Nagua. It also contains numerous small
townships whose inhabitants earn their living chiefly from stockraising and rice cultivation.

The soils of the Nagua and San Juan River Plains are characteristically level and poorly
drained. For the most part they are unfertile and are used for pasture (in some cases, improved
pasture). However, there are areas of deep clayey soils on which rice is grown with varying
yields, depending on the quality of soil management. In a few small areas near the coast at
higher elevations red residual soils on calcareous materials occur that have good drainage and
permit a wider range of crops. Along the edges of the Cordillera Septentrional, which borders
this subregion chiefly on the southeast, slightly undulating sections occur that penetrate the
Nagua Plain and exhibit shallow, well-drained, red-colored residual soils on calcareous rock.

The following are the soils associations that occur in the Nagua and San Juan River Plains:

Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
Pimentel-Fantino-Cotui (3-24-19) association
Villa Riva (36) association
Coastal swamp (100)

Soils of the Promontorio de Cabrera (II)

This geomorphologic region breaks the continuity of the Atlantic Coastal Plain in its
western portion. It occupies a semicircular area which is small in comparison with the other
geomorphologic regions of the country. Its physiography is very characteristic: a series of
stepped Pleistocene limestone terraces that progressively diminish in area and reach elevations
of 400 meters at 7 kms. from the coast.

Shallow latosolic soils have developed on the stepped hard limestone terraces of the
Promontory, that have good structure and fertility, although their rockiness has restricted
their use for agriculture. Next in importance from the point of view of area comes another
series of brown soils developed from soft limestones. There is a third group of soils which
belong to the Pimentel-Fantino (3-24) association and which cover small areas in the low coastal
parts of the Promontory, particularly on its northern margin. The most important soil association
is the Cabrera-Nagua (37-39) association which covers almost the entire area of the Promontory.

This association consists of shallow calcareous soils of medium texture and with good
drainage that have developed in situ from reef limestones. They occupy sites of stepped terraces
formed by the action of the sea on the base material. Drainage is of the karstic type, so that
the soils are not greatly affected by the frequency and intensity of the rainfall of the area.
The principal limiting factors on agricultural use are the relief, the low effective depth and
the rockiness that occurs in some areas of this association. However, in places with flat to
undulating relief which are found in the upper part of the terraces located chiefly in the
northern central part of this association, continuous cultivation is practised, with the chief
crop being peanuts because of the textural characteristics of the soil.

The soils that form this association belong to the Cabrera (37) and Nagua (39) series.
The Cabrera soils occur chiefly in the eastern half of the area occupied by the association,
whicF is characterized by the absence of surface drainage because of the well-established system
of vertical drainage. The Nagua soils are found chiefly in the western half of the area and are
characterized by a more irregular relief and by imperfect vertical drainage. Examples may be

found of surface drainage systems and occluded sinks. These are particularly numerous in areas
where these soils are contiguous with those of the Pimentel-Fantino-Cotui (3-24-19) association
which are located in the Nagua and San Juan River Plains area.

Soils of the Cordillera Septentrional (III)

The name Cordillera Septentrional is used to designate the mountain system which occupies
the northern part of the Dominican Republic and extends from Monte Cristi on the west to Nagua
on the east. This range trends northwest-southeast following the Atlantic coast from which it
is separated by a narrow coastal plain. This plain is interrupted by extensions of the Cordillera
which project toward the sea. The western part is calcareous in nature, while the eastern part
is of igneous origin.

The western part of the Cordillera Septentrional consists of low elevations, some of which
are isolated and ill-defined. The central part consists of high mountains up to 1 400 meters
above sea level, while in the eastern part there are low mountains that do not exceed 500 meters.

The southern slopes of the Cordillera Septentrional form a well-defined boundary for the Cibao
Valley, particularly in its central and eastern portions. North of Santiago, the Cordillera
terminates abruptly and has very steep cliffs.

The soils of the Cordillera Septentrional have been formed under conditions of unfavorable
relief and low rainfall, with the result that although of good texture and structure, they are
very shallow and in some cases very rocky. These factors severely restrict the agricultural
capability of the soils. However, areas with collovial soils or less steep relief are suited
for perennial crops, such as coffee and fruits, especially citrus.

Due to conditions of uniform development of the soils of the Cordillera, the genetic material
is of special importance. It is this formation factor that is responsible for the chief dif-
ferentiating characteristic of the soils.

Owing to the steep relief, the surface drainage is very rapid on all soils of the Cordillera,
and particularly so on calcareous lands.

The following are the principal soils series identified in the Cordillera Septentrional:

On calcareous materials: On serpentine:

Carbonera (116) series Marti (17) series

Duarte (1) series On non-calcareous conglomerate:

Habana (60) series Jaboban (6) series
Maril6pez (11) series

Nagua (39) series

Palma (10) series
Santa Clara (9) series
very hilly phase
These soils have been associated chiefly on the basis of their genetic material, their
drainage and their fertility. Associations have also been established of soils on very steep
rugged mountain terrain, whether or not of limestone. Finally, soils of complex delimitation
have been grouped together on the basis of a physiographic factor that differentiates them from
the rest of the hilly-relief soils of the Cordillera, such as the soils of the Los Uveros (161)
association, which is composed of less hilly soils of calcareous nature. The following associa-
tions have been established:

Carbonera-Habana-Quemados (116-60-151) association
Los Uveros (161) association
Martf (17) association
Nagua (39) association
Palma (10) association
Santa Clara-Maril6pez-Duarte-JabobAn (9-11-1-6) association
Rugged mountain terrain (104-105)

Soils of the Cibao Region (IV)

The Cibao region is a well-differentiated physiographic unit, the eastern part containing
the hydrographic system of the Yuna River and the western part that of the Yaque del Norte River.
Geologically, it is a long and narrow depression trench, compressed between the pillars formed
by the Cordillera Septentrional on the north and the Cordillera Central and the Sierra de Yamasa
on the south, from which it is separated by large faults produced by gravity and compression
which contain thick deposits of marine sediments in contact with the complex synclinal basement
rock. These sediments outcrop in the basin and in the foothills of the above cordilleras. The
central part is covered by alluvia and terraces of the Recent Quaternary, deposited on materials
of the Miocene, which outcrops in part of its area, and flanked by the underlying Oligocene
which borders it on both sides. The Eocene occurs only on the northern border.2/

The Cordillera Septentrional, which forms the northern boundary, intersects the Valley
in a regular and clean fashion in its central and eastern portions. The Cordillera Central,
which bounds the Valley on the south, intersects it irregularly, giving rise to recesses through
the formation of secondary valleys. This latter feature is possibly attributable to the fact
that the major tributaries of the rivers that form the axis of the Valley rise in the Cordillera

The Cibao Valley is separated into two approximately equal parts by a low drainage divide
located in the vicinity of Santiago. The western part is drained by the hydrographic system
of the Yaque del Norte River which runs lengthwise in a northwesterly direction from the center
of the Valley to empty into the Atlantic Ocean--a total distance of about 240 kms. This portion
of the Valley is known as the Western Cibao Valley and is characteristically drier than the
eastern portion.

The eastern half of the Cibao Valley is drained by the Yuna River which runs along the
central part of the Valley for a considerable distance and empties into the Bay of Samana. The
lower portion of the Yuna forms an extensive delta characterized by large areas of peat which
is in some places extremely deep. The eastern portion of the Cibao Valley from Santiago to the
Bay of Samana is known as the Eastern Cibao Valley, the Eastern Cibao, or the Vega Real Valley.
This part of the Valley is more humid and contains the most fertile and continuously cultivable
soils not only in the Valley but in the entire country.

To facilitate description of the Cibao Valley and its component soils, it has been divided
into the following subregions for study purposes:

1. The Western Cibao Valley
2. The Eastern Cibao Valley
3. The Yuna River Delta

At the eastern and more humid end of the Valley, the Yuna River has formed an extensive
delta where permanently flooded lands occur that are formed of both mineral and organic soils.
The presence of the latter causes severe problems for the total utilization of this low part of
the Valley. Their use would require large-scale and consequently very costly soil restoration

2. Las Principales Cuencas Sedimentarias de la RepGblica Dominicana y sus Psoibilidades
Petroliferas, Felipe Guerra Pena, Symposium on Petroleum and Gas Deposits, XX International
Geologic Congress

The organic soils have been used with relative success in Florida (U.S.A.), and considera-
tion has been given to their use for agriculture in other countries of the western hemisphere
that possess extensive areas of these soils. Cuba is one of the countries that planned to re-
claim a large area in the southern part of the country. An over-all study was carried out of
that region which consists of organic soils, and the construction was planned of an experiment-
al polder that would be equipped with pumps to lower the water table well below the surface of
the organic soil so as to permit root development. After the experimental crops had been plant-
ed and harvested, theconstruction could be envisaged of larger polders, if the results obtained
justified the investment. The construction cost was very high, and because of this, together
with other considerations, it was decided to postpone the soil restoration program. Later, the
possibility was envisaged of industrial utilization of the peat in the manufacture of briquettes
for fuel. This possibility was abandoned for various technical reasons, prominent of which was
the fact that extraction of the peat would result in the formation of large lakes that would
serve no purpose and would give rise to the risk of increased salination of the surrounding land
through seawater action.

At the western end of the Cibao Valley a wide delta has formed which is traversed by a
ramified system of channels and is bordered by an extensive strip of coastal swamp.

The greater part of the delta land is saline, with an analysis of over 2 000 ppm. To
the salination of marine origin is added that resulting from the use of the water of the
Yaque del Norte River, the lower part of which has a high content of dissolved salts. The
reason for this is that during its course, it receives the waste water from the irrigated
fields, especially the ricelands, including their content of soluble salts. The soils of the
western part of the Cibao are alkaline, with a predominance of calcium carbonates in their
composition. In the Eastern Cibao Valley, calcareous soils of moderate alkalinity predominate
toward the west, while the soils of the eastern portion are acid.

1. Soils of the Western Cibao Valley
In this part of the Valley the soils vary greatly with respect both to profile charac-
teristics and position. The Terrace soils are more numerous than in the Eastern Cibao and,
though they present good agrologic characteristics, they suffer from greater limitations on
use because of the difficulty of providing them with supplemental water for farming. This
water deficiency increases westward and becomes critical in the area between Hato del Medio
Arriba and Pablo Sanchez, which are located within an ellipse formed by the 500-mm. isohyet
and known as the elipse de la seca, or drought ellipse. This circumstance is aggravated by
the salinity of the soils of the western end of this part of the Cibao which grows worse
every year because of poor irrigation management.
Because of their generally high permeability, resulting from their light to medium tex-
ture, generally granular structure and calcareous nature, the soils of the Western Cibao
Valley need a greater amount of irrigation water than soils with a greater moisture reten-
tion capacity, such as the soils of the Eastern Cibao Valley, which are largely soils of
very recent origin that have not been matured by weathering. There is no doubt that the
low rainfall is the chief factor responsible for the poor profile development. Generally
speaking, the calcium carbonates have not been leached to the lower strata of the profile,
while on the contrary, other salts have been carried to the surface as a result of the in-
tensive evaporation.
The danger of erosion is greater in this part of the Cibao than in the Eastern Valley. It
is particularly great in the area of sandy soils of the Monte Cristi-Hatillo (88-89) associ-
ation, where the formation of gulleys is very common.

Paradoxically, in the few areas of alluvial soils that have formed along the creeks that
flow into the more westerly part of the Yaque del Norte, which, thanks to their water supply,
are the only areas of fertile soils, the harvests are frequently lost because of sudden rises
in the arroyos. Even under conditions of low rainfall, the danger of flooding of the allu-
vial soils exists in this subregion. There is no doubt that the sparse vegetation, aggravated
by the destruction of the shrub species in the neighboring areas and the tree species in the
higher regions of the Cordillera Septentrional is unfavorable to the impoundment of water for
enrichment of the water table and favors accelerated surface runoff, with the consequent
dangers of flooding.

It is imperative that the plans for the development of the Western Cibao Valley include
reforestation of the highlands that flank the Valley, as a means of avoiding flooding and
fostering enrichment of the water table.
The soils identified in the Western Cibao Valley have been grouped into the following
Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
Carbonera-Habana-Quemados (116-60-151) association
Esperanza (84) association
Gurabo-Guatapanal (112-114) association
Jicome (83) association
La Canoa (115) association
Las Lavas (54) association
Los Caos-Maizal (86-87) association
Monci6n (117) association
Monte Cristi-Hatillo (88-89) association
Palmar-Quinigua (81-80) association
Villa Vazquez (113) association
Coastal swamp

2. Soils of the Eastern Cibao Valley
The eastern half of the Cibao Valley is drained by the Yuna River and its tributaries,
chief among which are the Camu, the Maguaca and the Payabo. It is enclosed by the Cordillera
Septentrional on the north, the Cordillera Central on the southeast, the Sierra de Yamasa on
the south and the karstic platform of Los Haitises on the southeast. On the west, it is pro-
longed into the Western Cibao Valley, and on the east into the delta of the River Yuna, which
has special characteristics that differentiate it as a separate subregion.

The Eastern Cibao includes the most fertile soils of the Valley and perhaps of the entire
country; they rank among the most fertile soils in the world. The fertile plains of its
eastern portion, located between Santiago and San Francisco de Macorfs, are capable of pro-
ducing impressive harvests of plantains, cocoa and tobacco, and are at the same time suited to
a wide crop diversification. Its savannas, between the area south of San Francisco de
Macoris and Villa Riva, are capable of growing good quality pasture to support a flourishing
stockraising industry. Its clayey plains, located in the strip bordering the Valley from
south of Moca to south of San Francisco de Macorfs, produce good irrigated rice harvests, and
the fertile alluvial soils along the Yuna and CamO Rivers and their tributaries produce plan-
tains, rice, cocoa and a wide range of vegetables.

The soils of the Eastern Cibao Valley, particularly in its extreme eastern portion, are
capable of even higher yields with modern agricultural practices. The mere provision of sup-
plemental water for the soils between Santiago and San Francisco de Macorfs would suffice to
increase the production of traditional crops and facilitate the introduction of new crops.
Yields would also be increased considerably by fertilization and pest control.

The soils of the Eastern Cibao Valley have been formed chiefly from materials deposited
under lake conditions and by accumulation of sediments transported by the rivers.

The following are the major soils associations identified in the Eastern Cibao Valley:
Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
La Vega-Laguna-Verde-El Jobo (12-16-5) association
Maguaca (16) association
Moca-Guiza (8-41) association
Pimentel-Fantino-Cotui (3-24-19)

3. Soils of the Yuna River Delta
The Yuna River delta possesses special characteristics that differentiate it as a separate
subregion from the Eastern CibaoValley. The chief distinguishing characteristics of this sub-
region are the organic nature of a large part of its soils and the heavy rainfall, together

with the risk of flooding. These factors severely limit the agricultural capability of much
of this subregion.

The organic soils, which possibly cover more than one third of the delta area, are per-
manently flooded. The same is true of the coastal swamplands that occur along the boundary
between the delta and the Bay of Samana. The recent alluvial soils of the Yuna River, like
the deep, poorly drained clayey soils that flank them, are exposed to flood risk, which is
particularly severe along the lower part of the course of the river.

The major soils associations identified in the Yuna River Delta subregion are:

Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
Pimentel-Fantino (3-24) association
Villa Riva-Barraco (36-40) association
Coastal swamp (100)
Coastal beach (107)
Organic soils (peat and mineralized peat) (102-103)

Soils of the Samana Peninsula (V)

The SamanA Peninsula is located in the extreme northeastern part of the Dominican
Republic. It has a total length from west to east of 58 kms. Its width varies from a minimum
of 7.5 km.from Sanchez northward to a maximum of 18.5 km. from Los Cacaos on the south to Las
Tres Puntas on the north. It consists essentially of a mountainous mass, the two ends of which
are made of limestone materials and the central portion of schists. The southern portion of
the Peninsula, from SAnchez to near Samana, contains a narrow coastal strip that rapidly as-
sumes steep gradients and is terminated by the mountain wall. At the northern end there are
some coastal valleys, the most important of which is the Guazuma Valley. The eastern portion
presents a considerable area of lands with level to undulating relief and light-textured soils.
On the steep slopes of the southwestern portion, which consist of colluvial materials of the
karstic massif, coconut palms flourish; the exploitation of these has characterized agricul-
tural activity in this part of the country.

The Samana Peninsula is situated between the 2 000 mm. and 2 500 mm. isohyets and is there-
fore one of the wettest regions of the country. Generally speaking, the soils are shallow and
the relief very hilly so that their use is limited to forestry. However, the eastern part of
the Peninsula contains areas of deep, friable calcareous soils with good agricultural capabili-
ty. In the southern coastal belt, from Sanchez to Samana, there is a strip of red and brown
soils with undulating relief on which a precarious agriculture is practised that could yield
better results with modern farming methods. In the high part of the mountains there are level
areas of soils formed from acid clayey materials deposited under lake conditions. In the past,
these light-textured soils have been used with relative success for the cultivation of rubber;
at the present time, there is a tendency to expand production through the establishment of new

Along the northern coastal part of the Peninsula, valleys have formed, such as those of
the San Juan and Lim6n Rivers, in which red soils of medium texture and poor drainage occur.
It is also in this coastal strip that the chief coastal beaches have formed as a result of
continuous marine deposition. The largest of these are located at Jackson at the eastern end
of the strip. Beaches of considerable extent also occur at Punta El Estillero, Boca del Rio
Lim6n, Playa de las Canas, Punta de San Juan and Punta Frillet.

To facilitate study of the soils associations that occur in the Samana Peninsula, it is
convenient to group them into soils of steep relief and soils of level relief. The associ-
ations that correspond to each of these groups are as follows:

1. Steep to very steep soils:

a. Soils formed from limestone material
Las Lavas (54) association
Los Haitises (106) association
Tibisf (150) association

b. Soils formed on igneous materials:
Samana association

2. Level to undulating soils:
Greenville-Pimentel (47-3) association
Guazama (154) association
Pimentel-Fantino (3-24) association
Truffin (148) association
Coastal swamp (100)
Coastal beach (107)
The hilly limestone soils differ with respect to their specific genetic material. The
hilly soils of the western part of the Samana Peninsula have formed from sedimentary ma-
terials (karstic terrace soils), while those of the eastern portion have formed from meta-
morphic limestones (marbles). However, the soils of both associations share the character-
istics of shallowness and very steep relief. The soils of the Las Lavas (54) Association,
which have also formed from limestone materials and present similar characteristics to the
above two associations with respect to relief and poor profile development, are distinguished
from them by the fact that they have formed from calcareous conglomerates.

Soils of Los Haitises (VI)

The geomorphic region of Los Haitises is bounded on the west and northwest by the Eastern
Cibao Valley, on the southeast by the Sierra de Yamasa, on the east by the Miches Coastal
Plain, Sabana de la Mar and the Cordillera Oriental, and on the northeast by the Bay of SamanA.
The region has an average annual precipitation of 2 000 mm. It consists chiefly of a
karstic platform which presents characteristic dolines or sink-holes, cones and subterranean
drainage. The whole of this area has been grouped into the Los Haitises (106) association.
In some areas of less steep relief there are soils belonging to series that have been
assigned to the Jalonga-Consuelo (53-51), Guanuma-Elmhurst (55-56)and undifferentiated recent
alluvial soils (2) associations. These soils are used for agriculture--mostly for sugar cane
cultivation--though with unsatisfactory results. However, because of their favorable physical
characteristics and the availability of water they have a high potential agricultural

Soils of the Coastal Plain of Sabana de la Mar
and Miches (VII)

This region is located in the northeastern part of the country. Its western coastal area
borders the Bay of Samani and its eastern coastal areas the Atlantic Ocean. It is bounded on
the west by the Los Haitises region (VI) and on the south by the Cordillera Oriental region
(VIII). The Plain extends as an irregular strip from the Bay of San Lorenzo at its western
end to Punta Macao at its eastern end. It is interrupted by abrupt elevations of the Cordi-
llera Oriental which extend down to the sea and are more frequent in the western part of the
This Plain has a high annual rainfall ranging from 2 000 mm. in the part of the Plain
nearest to the sea to 2 500 mm. in the part bordering on the Cordillera Oriental.

The soils of this region have all formed under similar conditions of climate and relief
but under different drainage conditions and from different materials. They may be arranged
according to their principal characteristics into the following groups:

a. Sandy savanna soils formed from deposition clays

Los Guayos (48) association
Pimentel-Fantino (3-24) association

b. Soils formed by alluvial deposition

Undifferentiated alluvial soils (2)

c. Hydromorphic and saline soils

Coastal swamp (100)
Coastal beach (107)

d. Calcareous soils formed from deposition clays

La Ceiba (119) association
La Majagua (118) association

e. Latosolic-lithosolic soils formed from hard limestones

Matanzas-Jalonga (50-53) association

f. Residual soils formed from tufas

La Larga-Lim6n (44-46) association

Soils of the Cordillera Oriental (VIII)

The Cordillera Oriental consists of a mountain system located in the northeastern part of
the country. It parallels the Atlantic coast from which it is discontinuously separated by the
Coastal Plain of Sabana de la Mar and Miches (VII).

Annual rainfall ranges from 2 000 mm.in the northern and southern parts of the Cordillera
to 2 743 mm in the central part.

The Cordillera does not reach any great elevation, the highest point being below 900
meters. The predominant rocks are tufas and andesitic tufas, which form the base material for
the greater part of the soils of the Cordillera. However, at each end of the range, there are
calcareous rocks that have produced shallow, erosion-prone soils, while in some areas on the
southern slopes there are areas of basalts that produce lithosolic soils.

The andesitic tufas have been extensively weathered and have produced soils that are
deeper than those derived from other igneous and volcanic rocks but are equally of low inherent
fertility. Relief is the determining factor in agricultural use of these soils and limits
their suitability for forestry and, in some cases, pasture and tree crops.

On the northern slopes of the Cordillera there are extensive areas of colluvial soils with
less steep relief than are used for the cultivation of cocoa and coffee.

The soils of the Cordillera Oriental have been grouped into the following associations:

La Larga-Lim6n (44-46) association
Santa Clara (9) association
Rugged mountain terrain (104-105)

Soils of the Cordillera Oriental
Piedmont Region (IX)

The Piedmont region extends along the southern flank of the Cordillera Oriental. It varies
in width, being narrower at the ends and wider in the central part, particularly between Hato
Mayor and Seibo. Relief varies from level to undulating, with southward-facing slopes and iso-
lated elevations which in the western part are predominantly of tufas and in the eastern part
of limestones, though they are generally composed of both rocks in stratified form.

The strip of high lands which compose this region has an east-west length of about 80 km.
It includes the towns of Hato Mayor (elevation 112 meters) and El Seibo (elevation 117 meters).
It is bounded on the north by the uplands of the Cordillera Oriental (VIII) and on the south
by the Caribbean Coastal Plain (X).

Rainfall ranges from 1 300 mm on the southern side of the region where it borders on the
Plain to 1 750 mm on the northern or Cordillera side.

The region consists chiefly of shallow residual soils formed from tufas and somewhat
deeper soils formed from tufas and calcareous materials. The first are of low inherent
fertility and are used for pasture; the second possess higher fertility, more favorable physi-
cal characteristics and are used chiefly to grow sugar cane and, in some areas, citrus fruits
and miscellaneous crops. A third group consists of gravelly recent alluvial soils formed by
the streams that traverse the region, chiefly in a north-south direction. Finally, there is
a fourth group formed by the soils of the isolated hills of this region, which because of the
ecologic characteristics of the area, are used for agriculture in spite of their excessive

The following soils associations have been identified in the Cordillera Oriental Piedmont
HigUey (42) association
La Larga-Hato Mayor (44-45) association
Santa Clara (9) association

Soils of the Caribbean Coastal Plain (X)

The Caribbean Coastal Plain geomorphologic region comprises the whole of the southeastern
portion of the country, from Bahfa Las Calderas to its eastern end, a length of over 240 km.
The Plain varies in width, being generally narrower in its western portion and wider in its
eastern portion.

The Caribbean Coastal Plain consists of a series of terraces which progressively increase
in elevation from the coast to the foot of the cordilleras which form its entire southern
boundary. At the western end of the Plain, however, the transition to the cordillera is more
abrupt, because of the narrower width of the Plain.

The Plain is bounded on the north by the mountain massif of the Cordillera Central, the
hills of the Sierra de Yamasa, a short portion of the hills of the karstic platform of Los
Haitises and the high terraces of the Piedmont of the Cordillera Oriental. Its southern
boundary is formed by the Caribbean Sea.
The Plain is divided into two parts by the Jaina River, the western part being known as the
Bani Plain and the eastern part as the Eastern or Seibo Plain. The city of San Crist6bal, which
is located near the dividing line, has an average annual rainfall of 1 885 mm, one of the highest
in the coastal margin area of the Plain. Rainfall decreases from the center toward the ends of
the Plain. At Las Calderas at the western end it is under 600 mm. The eastward decrease in
rainfall is less sharp: 1 404 mm.at Santo Domingo, 1 319 mm.at Boca Chica, 1 156 mm.at San Pedro
de Macoris, 1 156 mm.at La Romana, and 1 100 mm.at San Rafael de Yuna.

The eastern part of the Plain is drier and its soils are derived for the most part from
calcareous materials transported and deposited in the form of colluvial and alluvial fans. The

soils of this part of the Plain are generally shallow, gravelly, of medium texture and calcareous
in nature, and share water deficiency as a common limiting factor on agricultural capability.
This eastern portion is more highly dependent on irrigation than the western part for the
development of agriculture.

The western part of the Plain is more humid and is also more complete from the point of view
of the soil formation factors. Along the coastal margin the soils are derived from reef limestones;
they are red, shallow, latosolic soils. Further inland, on the first terraces, somewhat deeper,
calcareous soils of brown color and high fertility occur that have formed from soft limestones.
Alternating with these are areas of deep calcareous soils formed from calcareous clays deposited
under lake conditions. In the eastern portion of the BanT Plain and the western portion of
the Eastern Plain there are soils of low agricultural capability, of light texture and low depth
that have formed from acid clays redeposited under lake conditions on primary calcareous deposits.

The Caribbean Coastal Plain is traversed from north to south by numerous rivers and streams,
chief among which are the Ocoa, the Grande, the Bani, the Nizao, the Nigua, the Jaina, the Ozama,
the Macoris, the Soco, the Cumayasa, the Dulce, the Chav6n and the Yuma. These rivers are an
important factor in soil formation, particularly the Ozama, the Bani and the Nizao, which have
formed wide belts of highly fertile alluvial soils. The MacorTs, Soco, Cumayasa, Dulce and
Chav6n and their tributaries have cut deep incisions into the Plain, to the point that use of
the soils bordering these rivers for agriculture is difficult.

The Ozama and Macoris rivers are
has proved useful, for transportation
case of the Macorfs and its tributary

navigable for several kilometers from their mouths. This
of sugar from the mills to the port, particularly in the
the Nagua.

The soil-formation action of the HigUey River is interesting. The recent alluvial soils
formed along the upper and middle parts of the river are narrow in width, but further down, the
river has eroded the dike formed by the coastal border of eolitic limestones to form a large
valley with highly fertile soils.

The following table gives an idea
stepped terraces of the Plain:

of the elevation, distance from the sea and rainfall of the

Distance Altitude Average
Locality from the above annual
coast sea level rainfall
(kms.) (meters) (mm.)

Las Calderas 0 0 -600
Bani 5.5 61 985
San Crist6bal 8 33 1385
Yamasa 87 1799
Santo Domingo 0 0 1404
Monte Plata 56 1997
Bayaguana 39 61 1811
Boca Chica 0 0 1319
Los Llanos 22.5 40 1350
San Pedro de Macoris 0 0 1049
Ram6n Santana 45 1150
La Romana 0 0 1156
Higiey 28 106 1282
San Rafael de Yuma 9 54 1100
Cabo EngaRo 0 928

Within the Caribbean Coastal Plain region, the Isla Saona and a number of smaller islands
located off the coasts of the eastern part of the Plain have been included for study. Isla

Saona is 22 km long and varies in wla n trum 3 Lo b.0 Km. It is separate from the main island
by a shallow channel with numerous keys and islets. The soils of the Isla Saona are generally
shallow and of medium texture. Their relief varies from flat in the western part of the island
to undulating and slightly hilly in the eastern portion.

The soils of the Caribbean Coastal Plain have been grouped into the following associations:
Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
Euzkalduna-Jalong-Consuelo (57-53-51) association
Guaytab6n-Guajabo (73-74) association
Guerra-Caoba-Medina (67-49-64) association
Hicotea-Pimentel-Palmarejo (52-3-69) association
Hicotea-Vasca-Consuelo (52-59-51) association
HigUey (42) association
Jalonga-Consuelo (53-51) association
Jalonga-Consuelo-Habana (53-51-60) association
Jalonga-Guerrero-Morano (53-61-62) association
Jalonga-Marmolejos-Caliche (53-70-71) association
Jalonga-Hicotea (53-52) association
La Jina-Yuma (72-75) association
La Larga-Hato Mayor (44-45) association
Las Lavas (54) association
Macao-Matanzas (79-50) association
Matanzas-Jalonga (50-53) association
Pimentel-Fantino-Cotui (3-24-19) association
Sabana Buey (159) association
San Josd-Pizarrete (156-157) association
Santana-Jalonga (43-53) association
Sombrero (158)
Yaguate (155)
Coastal swamp (100)
Coastal beaches and dunes (107-108)

Soils of the Cordillera Central (XI)

The Cordillera Central is the principal mountain system of the Dominican Republic. It
occupies a large area of the central part of the country, extending in a northwest-southeast
direction from the Haitian frontier to a point near the southern coast in the vicinity of Bani.
On the northwest, the Cordillera terminates to the east of mount La Guadalajara and mount
La Naviza (691 meters).

The soils of the Cordillera Central are characterized by generally steep relief which makes
them unsuitable for agriculture, except for the cultivation of typical mountain crops or for
subsistence farming in isolated areas. Where relief conditions are less severe and the soils
deeper, farming is economically feasible, given proper land use and management.
Generally speaking, the soils of the Cordillera are of low effective depth and light texture.
These characteristics, together with the high rainfall of the region and the very steep nature
of the terrain, foster accelerated erosion of the soils very soon after the ground is broken
for farming.
The most appropriate use for most of the soils of the Cordillera is forestry, using rational
methods and conservation practices. However, for various reasons, chiefly of a socio-economic
nature, the farmers have for the last few years been engaged in almost systematic destruction
of the forest in a desperate effort to find new lands for the establishment of a precarious
subsistence agriculture. After one or two harvests, these lands, stripped of their plant cover
and exposed to erosion by runoff, become totally unproductive.

The soils of the Cordillera exhibit as great a complexity as the rocks from which they have
been derived, although they share a common determining factor in the form of their relief.
However, soils may be found that are mardekly different, though formed from the same type of

rock and under the same conditions of rainfall and relief. Soils may also be found that are more
or less similar to the general pattern with respect to profile development and inherent fertility
but which are derived from different rocks.

The Cordillera Central is divided into two main mountain masses by the Constanza Valley:

a. The western massif, which culminates in the mountains of Jicom6 and rises to 2 500
meters at Monte Gallo and 3 190 meters at Pico Duarte and decreases gradually in eleva-
tion in a southeasterly direction to mount Rucila (3 125 meters) and Piquito del Yaque
(2 955 meters);
b. the eastern massif, which culminates in the peaks of Culo de Maco (2 230 meters),
Cucurullo (2 250 meters) and Monte Tina (2 700 meters).
The Cordillera consists chiefly of a complex of igneous, metamorphic volcanic and some
sedimentary rocks and is flanked by later sediments, most of which belong to the Marine Tertiary
which gives the entire geologic aspect of the island the appearance of a gigantic anticline
(Guerra Peia). The Cordillera constitutes a knot into which converge and fuse the various
western structural ribs of the Caribbean-Antillean system (Schubert) which extends eastward via
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and westward to Cuba.

Morphologically, the Cordillera Central consists of a series of hills, valleys and plateaus
that for the greater part present forest characteristics, although small areas also exist that
exhibit high-altitude savanna characteristics.

The average annual rainfall of this geomorphologic region ranges from 750 to more than
2 250 mm. The areas of highest rainfall are located near Bonao and Altagracia, with over
2 000mm., and toward the southeast of Restauraci6n, also over 2 000 mm. The areas of lowest
rainfall are located in the vicinity of Azua.

The soils of the Cordillera Central have been grouped into the following associations:

Baiguate-Hondo-Auyamas-Jimenoa (29-27-26-31) association
El Cercado-Sabana Larga (90-93) association
La Cruz-Buena Vista (91-92) association
Las Lavas (54) association
Lim6n (46) association
Nipe-Marti (18-17) association
Palma (10) association
Restauraci6n-Anacaona (152-153) association
Rinc6n-Yuboa (25-35) association
Valle Nuevo (146) association
Rugged Mountain terrain (104-105)

Soils of the Intramontane Valleys of
the Cordillera Central (XII)

Enclosed by the high mountains of the Cordillera Central are four main valleys; in order
of size they are: the Bonao Valley, the Constanza Valley, the Altagracia Valley and the Jarabacoa

1. Soils of the Bonao Valley
The Bonao Valley is roughly rectangular in shape and occupies an area of 128 square kilometers
in the northwestern part of the Cordillera Central. It has an average annual rainfall of over
2 000 mm; records for the city of Bonao, located in the central part of the Valley, show an annual
average of 2 184 mm.

The principal soils of this Valley are the recent alluvials (2) and soils belonging to the
La Vega (12) series.

2. Soils of the Constanza Valley

The Constanza Valley is a high mountain valley located at an elevation of 1 190 meters.
It divides the Cordillera Central into two great massifs: the western massif, which reaches
its highest point in Pico Duarte (3 190 meters), and the eastern massif, which culminates in
Monte Tina (2 700 meters).

The Valley has an average annual rainfall of 1 070 mm. The highlands which enclose it are
formed of rocks of igneous, volcanic and metamorphic origin but also include some stratified
sedimentary rocks. These limestones are also exposed in a few low hills in the center of the

The Constanza Valley consists of a belt of alluvial soils that grades imperceptibly into
the soils of the Constanza (147) series which have developed from deposition materials of volcanic
origin. This soil is represented by a reddish-black clay (10R 2/1) which changes at a depth
of 15 cm to a dark red clay (10YR 2/2) with some fine gravel of igneous origin. The soil grades
progressively into the genetic deposition material, the quantity and size of the gravel increasing
with depth.

Along the margins of the Valley there are colluvial soils that represent transitions toward
the surrounding rugged or mountain terrain. Their characteristics depend on the materials of the
latter, and their agricultural capability is limited by the relief and by the accumulation of
rock fragments. The appropriate use for these soils is for tree crops, particularly fruits.

The Valley of El Convento presents similar soils to those of the Constanza association
except that they are more reddish or yellowish at the surface and have greater areas of stoniness.

3. Soils of the Altagracia Valley

This Valley is located in the eastern part of the Cordillera Central, near its meeting point
with the Sierra de Yamasa. It occupies an elongated area that extends northwest-southeast along
the Guananitos and Jaina rivers from approximately the town of La Cumbre on the north to Madrigal
on the south.

The Valley receives an average annual rainfall in excess of 2 250 mm. The town of Altagracia
for which the Valley is named, has an average rainfall of 2 368 mm.

The soils of the Valley are predominantly brown and reddish-brown in color and occupy posi-
tions on elongated terraces flanking the recent alluvial soils formed by river deposition. The
agricultural capability of these soils varies from moderate on the residual and colluvial terraces
to high in the case of the alluvial soils. The land is at present used for the growing of sugar

Only two soils associations have been identified in the Valley: the undifferentiated recent
alluvial soils (2) and the Guanuma-Elmhurst (55-56) association.

4. Soils of the Jarabacoa Valley

The Jarabacoa Valley is located in the western part of the Cordillera Central. It is smaller
than the Bonao Valley, with an area of something over 23 square kilometers, including the terraces
that flank it and the recent alluvial soils. Average annual rainfall is 1 500 mm.

The soils identified in this Valley have been grouped into two associations: the undif-
ferentiated recent alluvial soils (2) and the Jarabacoa (33) association.

Soils of the Sierra de Yamasa (XIII)

This region consists of a series of low mountains of under 900 meters maximum elevation
that apparently constitute a continuation of the northwestern part of the Cordillera Central.
It begins on the west at the terminal point of the Cordillera Central, i.e. east of mounts

La Guadalajara and La Naviza and continues in a west-east direction, forming the southern bound-
ary of the region of Los Haitises (VI) and the northern boundary of the Caribbean Coastal Plain (X).
The Sierra de Yamas& has a high annual rainfall, ranging from 1 500 to over 2 250 mm.
Rainfall is lowest in the areas northwest of CotuT.
The genetic materials of the soils range from limestones, tufas, tonalites and quartz-
diorites 3/ at the northwestern end of the region to basalts, andesitic tufas and other volcanic
rocks toward the eastern end. The soils also vary in degree of development. Generally speaking,
the limestone soils are shallow and of hilly to steep relief; they have been assigned to the
Santa Clara (9) association. The calcareous soils, which are of steeper relief, have been grouped
under the designation Rugged Limestone Mountain Terrain. The soils formed from igneous and volcanic
rocks are generally of very steep relief, with gradients close to 100 per cent, and have therefore
been grouped for mapping purposes under the designation Rugged Mountain Terrain (104). There
is a group of highly weathered tonalite soils of flat to undulating relief which have been assigned
to the Guanuma-Elmhurst (55-56) association.

A group of soils of varying origin but of similar relief characteristics and limited agricul-
tural capability occurs toward the northwestern end of the Sierra de Yamasa, in the area of the
low hills that border on the Cordillera Central. The predominant soils of this association belong
to the Guanita (20) series which is characterized by shallowness and low fertility. At the foot
of the hills there are some red soils of clayey texture and granular structure formed from more
or less weathered acid igneous material which constitute the colluvium of the high soils of the
Guanita (20) series.

Soils of the San Juan Valley (XIV)

The soils of this region include some that are among the most productive in the country.
Some areas, particularly ricelands, show one of the highest levels of land management observed
during the soils reconnaissance of the Dominican Republic. Other areas, at present used for
improved or unimproved pasture, have a high potential agricultural capability, though its exploita-
tion is subject chiefly to the availability of irrigation water, particularly at the western end
of the Valley. Along the northern and southern margins of the Valley, particularly in its eastern
portion, the soils are of lower capability because of their low inherent fertility and the condi-
tions of aridity that extend toward the southern bank of the San Juan River, encircling the Sierra
de Neiba. In the northwestern part of the Valley there are volcanic soils that it was not possible
to study closely but which occupy only a small area. These soils, like the colluvial areas both
of the Sierra de Neiba and of the Cordillera Central, are of limited capability, chiefly because
of their great stoniness, which in some cases results from transportation of the materials and
in others derives from the original conglomerate.
The soils of the San Juan Valley have been grouped into a number of associations, including:

Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
Card6n (123) association
Elias Pina-Las Matas (125-126) association
Guanito-Villarpanda (121-122) association
La Zursa (120) association
San Juan-Hatico (127-128) association
Yabonico (124) association

3. Tonalite: The distinction between quartz-diorite and tonalite is based on the modal
percentage of quartz. Quartz-diorite contains from 5 to 15 per cent of quartz and tonalite
over 15 per cent. The tonalites and quartz-diorites are plutonic rocks composed essentially
of quartz and plagioclase oligoclasee to andesite). Potash feldspar, when it is present,
accounts for less than 5 per cent of the rock. The commonest varieties are hornblende and
biotite. Some contain pyroxene, but muscovite is not common.

Soils of the Sierra de Neiba (XV)

This region consists chiefly of the mountainous mass of the Sierra. Typically cultivable
soils are found only along certain narrow valleys that separate the main massifs and in small
and isolated intramontane valleys. Difficulties of access and lack of time prevented close study
of the soils of this region, but it was possible to group them into the following associations:
Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
Capulina (131) association
Guama (130) association
Intramontane valley soils (110)
Rugged mountain terrain (104-105)

Soils of the Hoya de Enriquillo (XVI)

This region, which is described in greater detail in the chapter on geomorphology, constitutes
a special unit within the Southwest Division because of, among other factors, the special charac-
teristics of its soils. The region constitutes an extensive depression filled with Quaternary
alluvions and bordered by old marine terraces that form true beaches along the southern boundary
of the Sierra de Neiba and the northern boundary of the Sierra de Bahoruco. The common conditions
of aridity and ever-present salinity, besides the sandy texture and poor profile development of the
soils and the severe limitations on use for farming would justify the inclusion of almost all the
soils of the Hoya de Enriquillo in a single association. However, in order to facilitate their
study and utilization, they have been grouped into the following associations:
Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
Cacheo (132) association
Enriquillo-Tamayo (134-135) association
Gran Sabana (139) association
Neiba (138) association
Palmarito (133) association
Puerto Escondido (137) association
Quita Coraza (136) association
Coastal and inland swamp (100)
Coastal beach (107)

Soils of the Azua Plain (XVII)

The lands of this region constitute an eastward prolongation of the Hoya de Enriquillo,
though their position is not as low and they are of less extreme aridity. Relief is steep in
the western portion, but in two thirds of the region it does not constitute an obstacle to
agriculture. The associations identified appear to be gradations toward the soils of the
Caribbean Coastal Plain(X) and the mountainous terrain areas of the Cordillera Central (XI).
However, even in this region, the arid conditions, shallowness, stoniness and lack of development
of the soils constitute severe limiting factors for the cultivation of many crops.
The soils of the Azua Plain have been provisionally grouped into the following associations:
Undifferentiated recent alluvial soils (2)
Azua (143) association
Carrizo (144) association
Clavellina (142) association
Los Bucaros (145) association
Quita Coraza (136) association
Coastal swamp (100) association

Soils of the Sierra de Martin Garcia (XVIII)

This region was not visited during the survey. However, on the basis of photointerpreta-
tion, the results of the geologic study and the local climatic conditions, it has been divided
into three groups of soils, all of low agricultural capability.

1. Clavellina (142) Association
This soil association is essentially the same as described for the Azua Plain (XVII), though
because of the greater nearness to the Sierra, the land is predominantly steep. Agricultural
capability is minimal, and the use of these lands even for pasture or forestry is severely limited
by the characteristics of the soil and the extreme aridity of the region.

2. Colluvial Soils
The soils of this group, which occupy chiefly the foothills of the southern flank of the
Sierra, have not been described or named because of the difficult access and low agricultural
capability of the land. They are light-textured calcareous soils of steep relief and contain
abundant limestone fragments which further reduces agricultural potential. The most recommended
use for these soils appears to be forestry.

3. Rugged Mountain Terrain (105)
This group comprises the entire central massif of the Sierra de Martin Garcia. Relief is
very steep, except on occasional small terraces and base areas. The soils are derived from
limestones and should possess satisfactory inherent fertility. However, the poor profile devel-
opment of the soils and the climatic conditions of the region make them unsuitable for cropfarming.
Their most appropriate use is forestry.

Soils of the Sierra de Bahoruco (XIX)

This region consists chiefly of the mountainous massif of the Sierra. Relief is the domi-
nating limiting factor, though others, particularly the shallowness and rockiness of the soils,
are in themselves sufficient to limit severely agricultural capability. Certain areas are
suitable for tree crops, such as coffee and fruits, but in general the areas of farmable land
are small.

The soils of the region have been grouped into the following associations:
Cacheo (132) association
Greenville-Matanzas (47-50) association
Palmarito (133) association
Peialva (140) association
Puerto Escondido (137) association
Intramontane valley soils (110)
Rugged mountain terrain (104-105)

Soils of the Barahona Peninsula

This region, which consists of the karst platform that extends to the south of the Sierra
de Bahoruco, is in reality an extension of the western portion of that region, and the soils give
evidence of the influence of the mountain massif in the eastern portion of the platform. Except

in a small area to the east and north of Oviedo, the soils of the region are of low agricultural
capability and limited value for forestry. However, the soils of the area that offer development
possibilities present such favorable characteristics as to permit their differentiation as a
separate association, in spite of their genetic relationships with the rest of the area.

The soils of this region have been grouped into the following associations:

Greenville-Matanzas (47-50) association
Matanzas-Francisco (50-82) association
Coastal swamp (100)
Coastal beach (107)

table IV-i



Undifferen- 2 1.1.1
tiated 1.2.1 7.1 Stream-deposited materials along the 0-5 Soils of varying texture and depth but with a Variable Variable Flood risk Low Given good depth, suited for II
recent 1.3.1 10.1 banks of rivers and arroyos, of varying characteristics lack of profile differentiation. Drainage the greater part to crops
alluvials 1.4.1 12.1 origin, depending on the geologic Almost always rich in organic material and very Stoniness proper to the ecologic
1.5.1 12.2 characteristics of the relative hy- fertile, except for areas of shallow depth o region.
4.1.1 14.1 drographio basin, with an excess of gravel or rounded pebbles.

Hilly to very hilly lands on schists
and calcareous materials.

High, very hilly lands on hornblende

Coastal plain developed on Quaternary
alluvial material,

High, very steep lands on materials
similar to diorite and similar inter-
mediate igneous rooks.

Low plain formed by deposition.

Plain with isolated hills of low eleva-
tion( deposition clays and quartz-
dioritic materials.

Stepped terraces of Pleistocene

Hilly terrain on limestone, gypsum and
clayey schists.

Peneplain; calcareous sandstones
and clays.

Depression savanna; acid deposition

Foothill lands; residual soils on
Eocene limestone.

Carbonera 116 1.1.2 3.1 Hilly lands of low elevation; moder-
1.2.2 4.1.2 ately consolidated limestones.

15-45 Shallow soils with very steep relief, of low
agricultural capability.

50-60 Shallow, friable soils of coarse sandy texture.

0-5 Very dark grayish-brown soils; clayey, silty or
sandy loam texture; no clear horizon differen-
tation; gravel and rocks.

50-70 Shallow soils of clayey texture and very
steep relief.

0-5 Dark brown soils; clayey texture; shallow,
with dendritic drainage in which narrow, peaty
channels develop.

0-10 Friable, dark brown soils; coarse sandy
texture, a high content of quartz gravel;
clayey, mottled and impermeable subsoil.

5-15 Shallow red soils; clay loam texture; limestone
fragments and rocky reef outcrops. Lateritic

35-45 Grayish soils; sandy or silty loam texture;
yellowish-brown subsoil; entire profile
calcareous; savanna.

5-10 Very dark brown calcareous soilst clay loam
texture; friable; moderate depth; contains
calcareous gravel.

0-5 Very dark gray soil, clayey texture and
granular structure; contains small pellets;
very clayey, mottled subsoil.

15-25 Dark brown soils; clayey texture; brownish-
yellow clayey subsoil; abundant limestone

10-25 Dark brown calcareous soils; medium depth and
clay loam texture; friable; not very stony.


































Excessive Low Aridity












Forestry (pine).


Ecologically suited crops,
with irrigation and
fertilization; pasture.

Subsistence crops; forestry.



Peanuts, fruits.

Pasture, and limited utiliza-
tion of local vegetation.

Perennial crops fruitsi
citrus); forestry.

Sugar cane, vegetables,
pasture and rice.

Various crops, with irriga-
tioni pasture in stony
areas; forestry.

High Perennial crops (fruits);







Buena Vista

















Table IV-1 (continuation)


Carddn 123

Carrizo 144

Coastal 100
and inland,

Clavellina 14T

Constanza 147

Consuelo 51

Cotui 19

Duarte 1

El Cercado 90

Elfas Pise 125

El TJoD 5

ElmhursR 56

Enriquillp 135

Esperanz& 8s

Euzkalduna 57

14.2 Foothill lands, with small valleys
and terraces limestone, sandstones,
conglomerates and clayey sohists.

17.3 Foothill lands limestone,
conglomerates, calcareous sandstones
and clayey schists.

1.1.5 5.9 Earine or lake depositon materials
1.2.8 7.B under conditions of impede drainage
1.3.5 10.2A4 o tidea influence.
1.4.5 16.9
1.5.4 17,7
4.1.13 20.4

17.4 Colluvial fans formed from limestone,
18.1 marls, conglomerates end S cysc

12.2 ntramontane valley# deposition
materials of igneous origi.

6.3 10. Plain of calcareous deposition
10.2 10,9 materials on coralline limestone.

1.5.2. 10.18 Low plain formed by acid redeposition
4.2.4. clays.

5.6 High, steep lands, esiduaL soils or

11.2 Deposition plaint clayey materials and
deposits of volcanic gravel.

14.3 Redepositiok plaint fonlomerate~,
limestone, iltsstones, gravel andl
alluvisa material.

4.2,2, Interfluvial plain 4eposition olayse.

6.2 43.2 Level to undulating terraces; materials
12. consisting chiefly of tonalite.

16"9 Depositiona 'iasin$ 'aternary alluviaL
and marine terraces.

4.1.3 Deposition terPoraest sandy, .salcaeous

10.2 Plain formed o calcareous leoustriaa

5-45 Grayish-brown or O ray soils Of sandy loam Good Moderate Arisity High Chiefly forestry, with areas III,V,VI

texture& subsoil clayey, non-caloareous, wlin
limestone, sandstone end igneous rook fragments.

10-25 Dark brown or dark grayish calcareous soils on
light-brown calcareous olay; sometimes reddish

0- GrayisD to black hydromorphic Soils on grayish
mottled or gleyed clays| permanently flooded.

5-25 Calcareous colluvial soils with elundant
limestone, sandstone end siltstone fragments.

0-U1 Reddish-hlack clayey soil oS darkish red alay
and fine igneous gravel.

0-10 Dark grayish-brown soilsi clay loam texturam
on dark reddish-brown, clayey subsoill
calcareous, rriable,

0-3 Grayish-brown soils; sandy loam texture shallow
on substratum or fine, whitish pulverulent
material and aOmi clay,

15-45 Shal1lotw own calcareous oizls sLay loam
texture; resting on limestone base almost
without transitional phase,

0-2$ Very dark browa soils of clayey texture and hard
consistency on very plastic Clayey subsoil with
tuffaceous gravel.

0-2S Dark bromw clayey soils; subangula blodky
structure. on light yellowsh-hrows caloareous
olay; limestone gravel.

6-10 Brown soils clayey texture and neutral
reaction on very plastic acid clays that
impede water movement.

0-31 Dark yellowish-brown lateritia soils; clay loam
texturst on reddish-yellow mottled clay.

05 Deep soilst dark grayish-brown t the surface
and grayish-brown through the rest of the
profile sandy or silty loam texture.

0-5 Reddish-lrowt soils; sandy loamI to ine sandy
texture; brown, calcareous, silty sandy loam at
45cm.Iliahter-colored, fine sandy loam at 90 cm.

0-10 Black, calcareous soilst clay o1am texture;
variable depth; good moistue-retention capacity.


Excessive l ow Aridity

appeded lot Drainage












- Fertility






















of pasture and crops.

Perennial crops and pasture. V'VI

Conservation and utilization VITr
of natural vegetation,
Protection of wildlife.

Ifig rotstfyI., t limited- asturo t I. i

for Ecologically suited drops, it
with irrigation fmno ertilization.

loa Miscellaneous crops, with 1,1
supplemental irrigation.

low Pasture, with suitable V

Moderate Forestry and perennial crops. VI

Xlo Sice, pasture. IV

aoderato Ecologically sulted crops, withe tIIIVI
irrigation; pasture in non-
arable areas.

fatr Lice. lith irrigation. ZI

low Sugar cane, vegetables and III

low Sugar cane. III,V

low Vegetables, including tomatoes. III

lto Miscellaneous crops; sugar II


Table IV-1 continuationn)


Fantino e* 1.3.4 .Z 5.5 Lake-depsition plaaei acid elaye O-5 Shallow, grayish-brown soils sandy texture; poor Low Depth Low Sugar cane, and shallow-soil V
1.4.% 4..5 ?.7 materials, on bottled acid clays. Drainage crops.
1.5.2 4.3.z 103.1 Fertility
Francisae Sg 202 Coastal plaint calcareou. materials, 0-10' Reddisb-bromn soils clayey texture on ye-. Good Moderate Aridity Low Ecologically suited crops; III
Wn coralliae Limestonem lowish-brown lay; underlain by troamy pasture in stony areas.
calcareous material or weathered licmstone.
Gran Sebaha, 139. 16.4- position plaint very rr agented 0-25 Very dry savanna soils( light brown color Good Low Aridity High Limited pasture, and very
Paleocene limestone. sandy texture poor profile development. Depth limited moro ran e, with inten- VVYZ.,VII
Fertility sive manaeeent.
Greenville. 47 5.1 D0.. Coastal plaint marine sediments and 0-15 Red, friable soils; clay loan texture variable Good Moderate Depth LOW Peanuts, tobacco, marou l.eIVI1 V
19.2 coralline limestonesn depth; containing quarts sand through tho Ro kiness vegetables.
Guajaba. 7k 10.3. Sedimentation terraces; non- D-t Baleck soill clayey texture and good structures odert oderat oerst apth zSo Sugar cane.
calcareous laoustrian clays, on mottled yelowish-brown and grayish-brown
clay, with pebbles.
Guam 130 15.> Colluvial deposition materials; 25-45 Dark brown soils; generally light texture; on fxcesssvea lV Aridity iiga. Pasture and reforestation. II,VIVII
limestone and calcareous sandstones. yellowish-brown subsoils; abundant limestone Stoninesa
Quanite 20 13.1 ow hills in foothills region 135-4, Dark brown soilsn shallow hilly terrain; Good Lo Depth Soderate Forestry and pasture. 7, VI, VII
igneous materials o. trying origin. sandy loam texture on red clay with some Fertility
Igneous gravel.
Guanito 121 14.4 High gravelly terraces of the )-45 Dark brown to dark yelloish-brown soils; sandy Cood a Aridity Bigh Pasturea conifer reforestation; T, VI, II
Quaternaryl calcareous and ion- texture; shallow# on brown sandy clay with Gravel very limited aropfarming.
calcareous conglomerates. igneous gravel Fertility
Guanuma 55 6.2 13.2 Stepped terraces; residual soils 0-10 Red or dark brown lateritic soils; deep; well cood low Fertility low Sugar canes vegetables., asture, EIY
12.3.. forced front tonalite, developed profile; terrain varying From level l1ardpan rubber, etc.
to hilly.
Guatapanan 11f 4.1.4 Deposition plaint unconsolidated 0-15 Brown soils clay 0oam texture, Soderate Ifoderate Depthf lo4 tiscleaneous crops, lsth I
deposition materials, irrigation.
Guaitab&r 7, IDn5 Terraces, composed of non-calareous 0-10 Brownish-gray soilst clayey textures assume T1or lai Drainage tor Sugar cane and miscellaneous Tr
lacustrian claysO a white color and powdery consistency when Fertility crops, with drainage,
dry; on plastic clay.
Guazuma 154 5.2 Deltaplain. laoustrian clays, 0-5 Brown soils clay loan texture- on plastic Poor low Drainage l"w Subsistence crops. 7
clay. Fertility Capability can bt expanded by
means of drainage morks,
Guerra 67 10.4 Coastal plain acid, .layey deposi- 0- 0 Grayish-brown soilst clayey texture on sub- Poor lao Drainage lo Miscellaneous crops, with
tion materials. strata of impermeable clay, with pebbles and Fertility drainage, fertilization and
calcareous nodules, deep tilling.
Guerrero 61 10.10 Coastal plain e residual soils on soft 0-5 Reddish-brown soilsi clay loan texture and Good High Depth Low Wide agricultural diversifi- S1
limestone, granular structure; nature; presence of cation.
crotovines; variable depth,
Guisa 41 4.2.4 Terraces formed by deposition clays. 0-10 Dark brown soils; clay loam texture; good Good High Depth Low Cocoa and miscellaneous crops. II
structure; variable depth,
Gurabo 112 4.1.4 Deposition plain; unconsolidated 0-10 Light brown, friable calcareous soils; clay Good Moderate Aridity Low Miscellaneous crops, with V
calcareous materials. loan textured conditions of aridity. Depth supplementary irrigation.


Table IV-1 (continuation)


Habana 60 1.1.2 3.1 10.9 High terraces of the coastal plain;
1.2.2 4.1.2 residual soils on limestone.

Hatico 128 14.6 Deposition plain; clayey materials
and streamborne igneous gravel.

Hatillo 89 4.1.10 High deposition-plain terraces;
residual soils on limestomes and
calcareous materials,

Hato Mayor 45 1.4.2 10.14 Piedmont; tuffaceous and calcareous
9.2 materials.

Hicotea 52 10.5 10.12 Coastal plain; lacustrian clayey
10.6 materials.

HigSley 42 9.1 Coastal plain; clayey lacustrian
10.7 materials.

Hondo 27 11.1 High cordillera lands; residual
soils on quartzitic rocks.

Imbert 96 1.2.5 High terraces; residual soils on

Jabobhn 6 3.6 Foothills region; derived from
calcareous conglomerates.

Jalonga 53 1.1.4 10,9 Coastal plain, level to undulating
1.2.5 10.10 terrain; calcareous materials and
6.4 10.11 soft limestones.
7.6 10.12
10.2 10.17
10.8 10.21
Jarabaooa 33 12.4 Stepped terraces; derived from

Jicome 83 4.1.5 Coastal plain; calcareous lacustrian

Jimenoa 31 11.1 High, very steep lands; derived from
basalts. Lithosols.

La Canoa 115 4.1.6 Plain calcareous lacustrian

La Ceiba 119 7.2 Plain; derived from lacustrian
calcareous clays.

La Cruz 91 11.3 Low hills; on diorites.

Laguna Verde 16 4.2.2

Deposition plain; clays deposited
under lake conditions.


5-10 Grayish-brown calcareous soils; shallow; clay
loam texture; friable and erosion-prone.

0-5 Reddish-brown plastic clayey soils on more
reddish clay with igneous gravel.

0-10 Brown soils; sandy texture; compact subsoil
and calcareous base material; extreme aridity
and erosion conditions.

10-20 Dark brown soils; clay loam texture; calcareous
and tuffaceous gravel through the profile;

0-5 Dark greyish-brown gravelly soils; clay loam
texture; on mottled dense and compact clay.

0-5 Dark brown soils; friable; sandy texture; on
acid, mottled clay with high content of gravel
and pebbles. Savanna.

25-45 Light brown soils; shallow; hilly terrain;
sandy loam texture; friable.

5-15 Very dark grayish-brown, almost black soils;
clayey texture; good structure; variable depth.

15-45 Brown soils; light texture; on non-calcareous

5-25 Dark grayish-brown calcareous soils; clay loam
texture and subangular-blocky structure;
abundant calcareous gravel. At varying
depths rests directly on the base rock. Fer-
tility directly proportional to depth.

5-25 Dark brown soils; sandy texture. Natural
vegetation has consisted of pine.

0-10 Deep, dark brown calcareous soils; clayey

15-45 Very shallow lithosolic soils; clay loam

0-10 Black soils; clay loam texture and granular
structure; on base material containing fossil
0-10 Light brownish-gray soils; deep; intensively
leached; clayey texture; on yellow calcareous

5-25 Brown soils; very coarse sandy loam texture;
with quartz gravel and diorite fragments;
very friable.

0-5 Dark brown soils; clayey texture and sub-
angular-blooky structure; on impermeable
clay substrata.







Good Moderate Depth

Moderate Moderate Depth

Moderate Moderate Aridity

Moderate Moderate Depth

Poor Low Drainage

Poor Low Drainage

Good Low Depth

Good Moderate Depth

Good Moderate Relief

Excessive Moderate Depth

Low Fertility Low Peanuts, beans, with suitable

High Aridity Low Miscellaneous crops, with
supplemental irrigation.

Low Relief High Forestry.

High Aridity High Miscellaneous crops, with

Moderate Drainage Low Miscellaneous crops, with irri-
gation and suitable fertiliza-
tion. Rice.

Moderate Depth High Limited range of crops, with
intensive fertilization and good

Moderate Drainage Low Rice. Various crops with well
Aridity established drainage.



High Sugar cane, as soil conserva-
tion crop. Other crops, with
good management.

Low Rice (with irrigation), and
certain ecologically suited
crops. Pasture.

High Miscellaneous crops, with
irrigation and intensive

Moderate Sugar cane, as soil conservation
crop, and perennial crops, with
good management.

Low Miscellaneous crops, with deep
tilling and intensive fertili-

Low Improved pasture, with good

High Forestry (pine) and subsistence

Moderate Sugar cane; various crops;

High Forestry

Moderate Sugar cane as soils conservation
crop. Miscellaneous crops, with
good management. Fruits.

















Table IV-1 (continuation)


94 1.1.3

72 10.13

La Large 44 1.3.2 7,3 9.2
1.4.2 8.1 10.14

La Majagua 118 7.4

Las Lagunas 95

Las Lavas 54

1.1.3. 1.5.3.
1.2.4. 1.4.3.

4.1.7 10.15
5.3 11.4

Las Mates 126 14.3

La Vega 12 4.2.2

Deposition plain; calcareous
lacustrian materials.

Deposition plain; mature calcareous

Foothills region; residual soils on

Plain; calcareous redeposition clays.

Deposition plain, calcareous
laoustrian materials.

Steep or very steep lands; residual
soils on calcareous conglomerates.

Deposition plain; residual soils on
calcareous conglomerates.

Deposition plain; laoustrian.clays.

La Zursa 120 14.5 Calcareous colluvial deposits of
varying relief.

Lim6n 46 1.2.3 8.1 High plain; residual soils on
7.3 11.5 tuffaceous materials.

Los Bdcaros 145 17.5 Foothills region; residual soils on
limestones and colluvial materials.

Los Caos 86 4.1,8 Colluvial terraces; streamborne
materials of calcareous origin.

Los Guayos 48 7.5 Coastal plain lacustrian materials.

Los Haitises 106

Los Uveros 161

Luper6n 97

Macao 79

Karst platform; residual soils on
Oligocene and Miocene limestones.

Level to undulating high peneplain
savanna; Miocene calcareous materials.

High terraces; calcareous clayey

Coastal plain; Pleistocene

0-5 Brown, slightly calcareous soils; deep; clayey
texture; high water table.

0-10 Very dark gray, almost black soils; clayey
texture; do not contain free carbonates
through the profile.

5-25 Dark grayish-orown soils; clay loam texture,
and granular structure; friable; shallow,

0-10 Very dark grayish-brown soils; silty-clayey
texture; plastic and viscid; caloreous.
Formed under conditions nf poor drainage.

0-5 Brown soils;-silty clay texture granular
structure. Crack when dry out.

10-25 Brown calcareous soils; sandy clay loam
texture; very shallow; contain calcareous

5-15 Light brown soils; clayey texture; on cal-
oareous clay with abundant calcareous gravel.

0-10 Very dark gray soils with well developed
profile end clayey texture, on compact clayey-
15-45 Grayish-brown calcareous soils; clayey
texture; subangular-blooky structure. Sub-
soils contain calcareous gravel.

15-45 Red soils; clayey texture; deep; high relief.

15-45 Hilly limestone soils; light texture, due to
lack of profile development; abundant
limestone fragments.

0-5 Yellowish-brown calcareous soils; fine sandy
texture; granular structure; friable; on clay
loam substrata with gravel.

0-5 Black, friable soils; sandy texture; on sub-
strata of sand and plastic mottled clay in
the lower part.

5-100 Reddish-brown and red soils; varying depth,
clay loam texture granular structure.

0-10 Soils with poor profile development, due to the
aridity conditions that prevail in the area.

5-15 Black calcareous soils; clayey texture; formed
under conditions of poor drainage.

0-10 Dark brown, very shallow soils; calcareous
rock outcrops extensively; clayey texture;
high content of organic material.

Moderate Moderate

Good High



Moderate Low Depth

Very Low Drainage

Poor Moderate Drainage

Good Low Relief

Good High Relief

Poor Moderate Drainage

Good Moderate Relief

Good Low Relief

Excessive Low Aridity

Moderate Moderate Depth

Poor Low Drainage

Good High Relief

Good Moderate Aridity

Poor Moderate Drainage

Good High Depth

Low Miscellaneous crops, with

Low Wide agricultural diversifica-
tion. Very well suited for
sugar cane.

Low Improved pasture, with fertili-
zation and grazing control.

Low Rice and pasture. Capability
can be expanded by installation
of drainage systems.

Low Miscellaneous crops, with
installation of drainage systems.

High Forestry (broadleaved species).

High Various crops, with irrigation.

Low Corn, with drainage. Tobacco,
in deep soils. Fertilization
Low Pasture and forestry (broad-
leaved species).

Low Chiefly pasture.

High Forestry. Climatic conditions
unfavorable even for this land

Low Tobacco and miscellaneous crops,
with irrigation,

Low Pasture. Limited cropfarming
with irrigation and intensive

Low Forestry (broadleaved). Varied
in depressions,

Low Miscellaneous crops and improved
pasture, with irrigation.

Low Various crops, subject to instal-
lation of drainage systems.

Low Subsistence crops: peanuts,
plantains, onions, yuca, etc.















Table IV-1 (continuation)











Monte Cristi

Monte Llano







160 4.2.3

87 4.1.8

11 3.6

70 10.11

17 3.3

50 1.1.4 10.16 20.1
1.2.5 10.17 20.2
7.6 19.2

64 10.4

8 4.2.4

117 4.1.9

88 4.1.10

99 1.3.3

62 10,10

39 2.1

158 16.5

18 11.6

10 3.5

81 4.1.11


High plain savannas lacustrian

Colluvial terraces; transported
calcareous materials.

Foothills region residual soils on
sandstones, limestones and

Undulating to slightly hilly plainI
unconsolidated calcareous materials,
sandstones and limestones.

High, very steep lands; residual
soils on serpentine.

Coastal plain; residual soils on
coralline limestone.

Deposition plain; acid clayey
materials on coralline limestone.

Deposition plain; calcareous clays
with limestone inclusions.

High terraces; residual soils on
schists and quartzitic materials.

Deposition plain# caloareous

Plain; calcareous lacustrian

Plaini residual soils on soft

Low, hilly landsi residual soils an
Oligocene limestones.

Foothills region; colluvial fans,
depression deposits and marine
High, steep lands residual soils
on serpentines. Oxysols,

Low hills residual soils on
limestone and calcareous sand-
stones, interbedded.

Terraces of calcareous deposition

Poor Low

Grayish-brown soilsi clayey texture possibly
mottled in the lower horizons because of
poor drainage.
Dark brown, gravelly, calcareous soils; sandy
clay loam texture friableggranular structure.

Light brown hilly to undulating soils; shallow;
sandy loam texture,

Friable calcareous soils; shallow and erosion-
proneg sandy clay loam texture; on cemented
calcareous gravel,

Very dark brown, shallow savanna soils; clayey
texture; serpentine fragments.

Laterio red soils varying depth clayey texture;
granular structure) no changes in profile down
to rock.

Reddish-yellow and strong brown mottled soils;
clayey texture plastic on yellow, red-
mottled clays.

Very dark gray, almost black soils; clayey
texture) granular structure| on dark yellowish-
brown calcareous base clay.

Dark reddish-brow soils; sandy clay loam
texture; on clayey intermediate stratum and on
base material,
Brown, non-calcareous soilt Sandy texture on
free clayey-sand stratum,on yellowish-brown.
sand with calcareous nodules,

Plastic, black, calcareous soilst clayey texture|
granular structure moderately deapi on Eal-
careous silty clay base.

Black calcareous soils; clay loam textured
intermediate stratum o dark ta clay* on
limestone base.

Dark grayish-brown and reddish soilst olay loam
texture) fine granular structure; moderate depth.

Greyish-brown or brownisa-gray soils sandy
loam and clay loam texture high gravel content.

Red lateritio soilst clayey texture deep,
without differentiation through the profile.
Very stable.
Brown calcareous soils; sandy clay loam texture;
friable, shallow and very erosion-prone.

Very dark grayish-brown calcareous soils; very
fine sandy loam texture; friable; abundant
gravel; on fine calcareous sand.



























































Improved pasture rise with

Tobacoa and misrllaneous erops,
with irrigation.

Forestry (broadleaved species).
Perennial crops (fruits).

Perennial crops (fruits, citrus).

Pasture and forestry.

Depends on depth. Deeper soils:
miscellaneous crops. Moderately
deep sugar cane, fruits.

Sugar canes. Niscelareous crops,
with Irrigation and fertilization.

Vide agricultural diversification.
Improvable ithl supplemental

Subsistence crops.
Forestry (pine).

Limited oropfarming, with irri-
gation, fartilisetion and erosion

Sugar cane and miscellaneous
crops, with drainage.

Sugar cane. Other crops, with
careful management.

Perennial orops (fruits, citrus),
pasture and forestry.

Perennial crops (fruits).

Porestry (pine).

Perennial crops, with erosion
control measures,

Tobacco. Miscellaneous crops,
with provision of supplemental

















, I

Table IV-1 (continuation)


Palmarejo 69 10.5 Coastal plain depressions; gravel, 0-5 Very dark gray soils; clayey texture and Poor Low Drainage Low Sugar caner with deep tilling; V
calcareous clays and limestone. granular structure; on shallow-lying Fertility improved pasture, with
intermediate stratum of gravel. fertilization.

Palmarito 133 16.6 Foothills region) residual soils on 5-2S Dark brown soilsT Clay loam to clayey texture Good Moderate Depth Ioderete Pasture end erennial crops V
19.3 stratified Iimestones and lis-. and well developed structure; shallow; not Stoniness (fruits),
integrated limestone materials. very stony. Relief

Penalva 140 19.4 High, steep landsl residual soils on 15-25 Brown to dark brown soils; clayey texture. Good Moderate Relief Moderate Perennial crops fruitss, with IV,V,VI
limestone, turfs and volcanic conservation measures,
Pimentel 3 1.3.4 4.2.5 7.7 Deposition plain of non-caloarsous 0-5- DarK brown acid soils fine sandy loam Poor Low Drainage Eoderate Improved pasture, with fertil-
1.4.4 4.302 10.5 clayey materials, texture; intermediateplinthite tratum with Depth ization and grazing control. V
1.5.2 5.5 10.18 iron end manganese concretions. Fertility

Piragua 98 1.2.3 Terraces; residual soils on tuffaceous 0-5 Black soils of clayey texture that change to Poor Low Drainage Low Improved pasture. V
materials. brown at 20 c.; contain angular tuffaceous Fertility
Pizarrete 157 10.20 Terraces; residual soils on soft 0-10 Brown calcareous soils clayey texture; shallow Good Low Aridity Low Perennial crops; miscellaneous V,VI
limestone, limestone fragments in surface stratum. Fertility crops, with irrigation.

Beach ridge 107 1.5.6 5.10 16.10 Coastal strips; marine sands and 0-5 Sandy soils without profile development. Excessive Low Fertility Low Coconuts; on stable dunes in VIII
and dunes 108 1.4.6 7,8 20.4 sandy and clayey materials. Drainage areas with sufficient rainfalls
4.5.5 10.25 pasture.

Puerto 137 16.7 Intramonnane tectonic and solution 0-5 Brown soils; sandy or sandy loam texture; Good Moderate Aridity High Miscellaneous crops, with III,IV
Escondido 19.5 valleys; limestones and transported weekly developed structure; reddish subsoil. Fertility irrigation,

Quemados 151 1.1.2 3.1 Low Hilly lands; unconsolidated 10-25 Light brown soils shallow; very friable; Good Low Depth High Very limited capability, VIIVII
1.2.2 4.1.2 calcareous materials, sandy clay loam texture; very erosion-prone. Relief Perennial crops in the best
Quinigua 80 4.1.11 Coastal plain terraces; calcareous 0-10 Dark grayish-brown calcreous soils; clay Good High Aridity Low Tobaco and miscellaneous crops, II
deposition materials. Ioam texture; on more clayey intermediate with supplemental irrigation.
Quita Coraza 136 16.8 Plain with calcareous sandstones, 0-15 Yellowish-gray or grayish-brown calcareous Good Low Aridity High Pasture and forestry, under V,VIVII
17.6 limestone, conglomerates, silt- soils; stony; extremely arid conditions. Stoniness adverse ecologic conditions.
stones and clayey schists.

Restauraci6n 152 11.8 High lands residual soils, chiefly 10-25 Shallow, hilly soils of clay loam texture. Good Low Depth Moderate Forestry (pine); in less steep VI.VII
on granite. Fertility areas, pasture.

Rinc6n 25 11.9 High, hill terrain; residual soils 5-15 Shallow, acid soils of undulating to hilly Good Low Depth Moderate Forestry. VII
on schists, relief. Relief
Sabana Buey 159 10.19 Low foothills terrain or high 5-15 Brown or reddish-brown soils; clay loam texture; Good Low Depth High Forestry, pasture. IV,VVI
terraces; residual soils on Eocene shallows high content of calcareous gravel. Relief
limestone. Aridity

Sabana Larga 93 11.2 Low, hilly lands; sedimentary and 15-25 Very dark brown soils clayey, compact, with Poor Low Drainage Low Pasture. V
volcanic material, angular volcanic gravel on olive clay with Fertility
calcareous inclusions.

Samana 149 5.6 High, very steep lands; residual 15-45 Red soils of hilly relief and varying depth; Good Low Relief Moderate Forestry. VII,VIII
soils on schists (mica and quartz), clayey texture, on seracitic red clay with Depth
quartz particles. Fertility

San Josi 156 10.20 Coastal plain; soft limestone 0-10 Brown calareous soils without profile devel- Good High Aridity Low Miscellaneous crops, with III,IV
terraces, opmentt clayey texture; granular structure. irrigation.



San Juan 127 14.6


Santa Clara







Peat and

Valle Nnevo



Villa Riva


Villa VLsquez



3.6 9.3
8.2 13.3




5.7 13.4 19.7
8.3 15.5
11.11 18.3










35 11.9 Low hills; residual soils on
quartzitic materials.

Moderate High Aridity Low

Deposition plain; clayey materials
and transported igneous gravel.

Steeply terminated platform;
moderately consolidated calcareous

High lands; residual soils on
partially consolidated limestone.

Coastal plain; fragmented limestone
of colluvial fans.

Colluvial fans and terraces with
limestone fragments.

Deposition basin; alluvial material
and Quaternary marine terraces.

Very high, rugged terrain of tectonic
origin; residual soils on igneous and
metamorphic rocks.

Sharply ridged high lands; residual
soils on marbles and other calcareous

Coastal plain; residual soils on
soft limestone.

River delta depression; organic
materials in process of decomposition
and mineral materials.

High cordillera savanna; lithosols on
igneous and metamorphic materials.

Tectonic and solution valleys with
varying genetic material.

Coastal plain; residual soils on Terr
Tertiary gravels.

Lake-deposition plain; clayey

Quaternary gravel terraces; calcareous

Terraces adjacent to alluvial plains;
lake-redeposition calcareous materials.

0-10 Dark grayish-brown soils; clayey texture; on
intermediate stratum of very plastic reddish-
brown clay.
15-35 Brown calcareous soils; shallow; clay loam
texture; very erosion-prone.

5-45 Very dark grayish-brown soils; clayey texture;
containing calcareous gravel; on yellowish-
brown, non-calcareous plastic clay.

0-15 Very dark grayish-brown, deep calcareous soils;
sandy clay loam texture; granular structure.

15-45 Hilly calcareous soils; light texture; abundant
limestone fragments.

0-5 Grayish-brown soils; saline in lower locations;
sandy loam or silty loam texture.

25-100 Shallow soils; very hilly to very steep relief.

10-60 Red soils; very hilly relief; shallow and very

5-15 Yellowish-red soils; well developed profile;
medium depth: clayey texture; blocky structure.

0-1 Permanently flooded organic soils; strata of
poorly developed peat on developed peat and
sandy lenses.

0-10 Brown or reddish-brown soils; clayey texture;
poor profile development; high content of
angular rocF fragments in surface stratum.

0-15 Various soils of clayey texture and generally
brown colors; leached; on clay, with carbonates
in the lower parts.

0-5 Very dark gray soils; clay loam texture;
granular structure; on compact and mottled
silty clay.
0-10 Grayish-brown soils; deep; clayey texture; very
plastic clayey subsoil,

0-15 Brown soils; moderately deep; sandy texture; on
grayish-brown calcareous subsoil with gravel
0-10 Grayish-brown calcareous soils; medium texture;
on very calcareous sandy silt and olive-brown
calcareous clay.
5-25 Shallow guartzitic soils on mottled, very
plastic impermeable clay.
















Good Low Depth































Moderate Forestry.

















Variety of crops, with
irrigation. Rice.

Perennial crops fruits3
citrus), forestry.

Cocoa, miscellaneous crops,

Miscellaneous crops, with


Sugar cane. Miscellaneous crops
with extremely careful


Cocoa, coffee. Miscellaneous
crops, with good land
Need for costly reclamation

Forestry (pine).

Subsistence crops.

Various crops, with subsoil

Rice, with irrigation. Various
other crops, with irrigation,
drainage and fertilization.

Forestry, perennial crops.

Rice, pasture.


















fable IV-1 (continuation)


Yabonico 124 14.7 High plain; residual soils on 5-45 Shallow, gravelly or stony soils. Good Low Depth Low Chiefly pasture. IV,V

volcanic materials, chiefly
andesites and basalts.

Yaguate 155 10.23 Interfluvial plain; unconsolidated
calcareous deposition materials.

Yasioa 111 1.4.3 Coastal plain; lake-redeposition
calcareous sandstones,

Yuma 75 10.15 Coastal plain; calcareous materials
of coralline origin.

Zamba 162 11.2 High savanna; calcareous sandstones.

5-25 Brown calcareous soils; moderate depth; clay
loam texture; granular structure.

0-5 Dark grayish-brown calcareous soils; clayey
texture; on mottled gray and light-brown

5-25 Black calcareous soils; clayey texture; on
dark yellowish-brown, not very plastic clay.

0-10 Light brown calcareous soils; clay loam
texture; resting at 30 cm. on hard gray
sandstone; occasionally calcareous nodules.


Good Moderate Depth Moderate Sugar cane and miscellaneous
crops with conservation

Poor Moderate Drainage Low Miscellaneous crops, subject
to installation of drainage

Good High Aridity Low Peanuts, beans, yZc, various
crops with irrigation.

Poor Low Fertility Low Chiefly pasture.




The first attempts to classify land on the basis of productive capacity were made
in China more than 40 centuries ago. It appears that these first systematic efforts of
classification took into account nine soil classes defined on the basis of their
recognized fertility characteristics.

Since then, the end-result of all taxonomic soils studies has been the interpreta-
tion of the soils in light of their productive capacity and their representation by
special mapping techniques. Preparation of a land capability map therefore involves a
number of stages. The first stage comprises the execution of the physical studies;
that is, of technical soil surveys in the field. On the basis of the findings of these
studies, which embrace also the visible and measurable properties, supplemented by
practical data obtained from interviews with the farmers and scientific data obtained
by experimentation, it is possible to organize the lands into productivity or capability
classes that definitively correlate the suitabilities of the various soils to specific

The purpose of the Land Capability Map that accompanies this report is to facilitate
regional agricultural development planning. It does this determining the fields in which
efforts to increase production through irrigation and other land management practices must
be concentrated, and by indicating the areas that offer the best prospects for the suc-
cessful introduction of specific crops. At the same time, the map indicates, to the
extent permitted by its scale, recommended levels of management and necessary soil
conservation practices for each of the capability classes identified. The units depicted
on the map represent individual evaluations not only of the morphologic characteristics
of the component soils but also of agrologic criteria established by the technicians
during the courseof the survey.

The system of classification employed is that used by the United States Soil Con-
servation Service with certain modifications to adapt it to ecologic and agrologic con-
ditions in the Dominican Republic.

In accordance with this classification, eight capability classes were established.
Lands in Classes I through IV are regarded as suitable for normal cultivation, with
pertinent uses and management practices specified. Lands in Classes V through VII are
regarded as uncultivable by modern mechanized methods, but are suited for pasture, tree
crops, mountain crops, in some cases, for forestation in general. Class VIII lands are
suitable only for national parks and forestlands.

Methodology and General Considerations

To be able to produce a Land Capability Map covering the entire Dominican Republic,
it was necessary to adopt classification criteria of adequately wide scope to permit the
compilation of a single legend applicable to the entire range of ecologic conditions

that occur in the Island, which has been the subject ui ..,, ... ... ,....... --,
per unit of surface area for Latin America.

Both the scale adopted and the concept of a national-scale classification are unusual;
capability classifications are normally based on larger scales and almost always on re-
gional criteria. Consequently, updating of land capability in the Dominican Republic
based on more detailed data, such as will be provided by the 1:20 000 aerial photographs
now being taken, will have to be confined to regional criteria--particularly with respect
to climatic conditions--and its results will differ considerably from those of the
1:250 000 map compiled.

The Class I category, representing the archetype of cultivable lands without important
limiting factors, and can therefore only occur under optimum conditions and presents no
difficulties of adaptation to the present capability map. The only modification that
could arise from a detailed study would stem from the presence of Class I lands inside
zones belonging chiefly to other classes. However this would occur to such a small extent
that they have not been delimited in the present study.

From Class II lands, the presence of limiting factors on productivity, such as
aridity are common to almost all the soils of a given region. This considerably compli-
cates the task of evaluation when it is sought to carry out a simultaneous evaluation
for the entire country. These regional factors have therefore been disregarded, except
in those cases in which they have extreme effects on soil productivity within the regional
framework. Examples can be seen in the aridity of the southwestern region of the country
and the shallowness or rockiness in much of the southeastern region.

The chief consequence of this situation, from the point of view of the utility of the
Land Capability Map, is that any attempt at comparative evaluation of the soils of two
different regions will result in an incorrect appraisal of the true value of the land.
On the other hand, the indicated classification, considered in conjunction with those of
the adjacent soil types, will provide a fairly accurate idea of the relative land use
priorities in each of the areas mapped.

The classification adopted constitutes the algebraic sum of the positive or favor-
able characteristics, such as good physical conditions, inherent fertility, soil depth and
so on, and of the negative or limiting factors, such as unfavorable relief, poor drainage,
shallowness and rockiness, adverse physical and chemical conditions and, in extreme cases,
aridity. Except in a very few cases, the mission of regional factors does not affect the
evaluation because their direct effects on the inherent conditions of the soils figure in
the evaluation as part of the intrinsic characteristics of the land. Thus, for example, the
low fertility and poor profile development, and also the coarse textures and high calcium
content that are common to almost all soils of the arid regions of the Lake Enriquillo and
Yaque del Norte River basins are directly attributable to the low rainfall, just as the
severe erosion and absence of alluvial soils result directly from poor rainfall distribution.
Similarly, the extreme rockiness or shallowness of the soils of the coastal areas in the
southeastern part of the country reflect the characteristic properties of the original mate-
rial common to that region.

Moreover, scale limitations restrict the degree of uniformity that can be given to the
capability categories for each rock unit recognized. Therefore, it is necessary to restrict
the classificationto the category that predominates within each unit. In some cases, partic-
ularly that of the undifferentiated alluvial soils, it has been necessary to assign a higher
class (II) to large areas of the alluvial plains of various streams. However, a more detailed
study of these areas will reveal large areas whose soils are much less fertile, partic-
ularly because of problems of inadequate or excessive drainage, salinity, stoniness or other
limiting factors that will usually place them among the lower categories and only very rarely
in a higher category. Consequently, the actual area of Class II lands in this category, as
in the remaining categories, will always be less than that shown on the map. This factor
must always be taken into consideration when calculating production statistics. In the same
way, areas depicted uniformly as belonging to Classes VI and VII because of a dominating
factor such as relief, stoniness, etc., include soils in which that limiting factor is less
severe and which, therefore, belong to higher productivity classes. In order to draw atten-
tion to the limitations of the map, this fact has been incorporated wherever possible into
the accompanying legend.

When using the information contained in the Land Capability Map for agricultural plan-
ning purposes, it should be pointed out that rice and sugar cane--two crops that play an im-
portant role in the Dominican economy--constitute up to a certain point an exception to the
basic fundamental criterion on which the classification employed is based. Both crops flour-
ish chiefly on lands belonging to classes I, II and III. However, sugar cane cultivation can
be extended to Class IV and even to Class V soils if the lands are located close to existing
sugar cane areas and help to supply the processing capacity of the mill, even though that may
not, technically speaking, be the most appropriate land use. Similarly, rice, because of its
high profitability, can be grown on Class IV soils. Because of its high water need and shal-
low root system can even be grown on Class V soils when that classification is assigned chief-
ly by reason of poor or impeded drainage.

Finally, it should be noted that because of the form in which the classification system
has been applied to the soils of the Dominican Republic, Class IV includes lands that may or
may not be cultivable--from an economic rather than a technical point of view--since the
decision will depend to a high degree on the economic profitability of the proposed crop, i.e.,
on the economic capacity of that crop to repay the investment represented by the high level of
management needed to bring them under production.

The preparation of the Land Capability Map was based on the 1:250 000 Soils Associations
Map and also the 1:150 000 soils map on which the mapped units correspond to series and, in
some cases, to phases. The evaluation criteria were supplemented by agrologic data obtained
during the course of the field work.

Description of the Land Capability Classes

A description of each of the productive capacity classes is given below. The salient data
on these classes are summarized in tables V-1 and V-2.

1. Class I

Cultivable lands, suited to irrigation, with level relief
and without important limiting factors. High productivity,
given good management

Includes deep, calcareous residual soils of level relief and with good internal drainage;
generally clayey in texture and almost always granular in structure; generally high content of
organic matter. Most are soils of the Moca series (8), which occur extensively in the Eastern
Cibao Valley. Potential use almost unlimited for all crops grown in the area.

Soils requiring only land use and soil management practices

Class I soils respond excellently to fertilization provided that this is based strictly
on soil analyses and on the needs of the proposed crops. The raising of productivity or di-
versification of the crops range will call for supplemental irrigation.

2. Class II

Cultivable lands, suited to irrigation, with level, undulating
or smoothly hilly relief and without severe limiting factors.
High productivity, given moderately intensive management

Includes deep, well-drained soils of medium texture and good structure, with a high
content of organic matter and good moisture-retention capacity. Chiefly recent alluvial and
residual soils on calcareous deposition materials. The major limiting factors are flood risk,
in the case of the alluvial soils, and rockiness or stoniness in the case of the residual

soils, and also, in isolated cases, shallowness. Class II is represented mainly by the soils
of the Constanza and San Juan series, found in the valleys bearing those names; the La Jina,
Yuma, Guerrero, Morano, Consuelo and Euzkalduna series, in the eastern coastal plain; the Guiza
series, in the Eastern Cibao region, and the Quinigua and Santiago series in the Western Cibao.
Potential use is almost unlimited for the crops grown in the region, provided the level of
management necessitated by the limiting factors of each particular area is given.

Soils requiring good management and moderate conservation practices

The necessary management practices include irrigation (largely supplemental); removal of
stones and other obstacles to cultivation; fertilization appropriate to the soil conditions,
and sometimes other types of improvements. Recommended conservation practices include contour
tilling, strip cultivation, crop rotation (including pasture and/or legumes), simple terracing
works, adequate tilling and removal of the covered arable stratum, or lister furrowing.
A considerable part of the zone of recent alluvial soils included in this class is not in fact
cultivable and in many cases should be regarded as belonging to Class IV or Class V by reason
of stoniness, drainage problems or salinity.

3. Class III

Cultivable lands, suited to irrigation but only with very profitable crops.
Level, undulating or smoothly hilly relief. Rather severe limiting factors.
Moderate productivity, given intensive management practices. Marked
restrictions on range of possible crops

Includes residual soils, generally on limestones, some alluvial soils of relatively low
fertility and colluvial soils, particularly of the intramontane valleys. The chief limiting
factors are deficient inherent fertility, stoniness, excessive drainage, low effective depth
and salinity. Various cases have also been included of soils that have good physical char-
acteristics but are affected by aridity. Given irrigation, these latter soils would possibly
merit promotion to Class II.

The major areas of occurrence of Class III lands and the relative soil series are: the
Caribbean Coastal Plain (including soils of the Francisco series and the relatively rock-free
phase of the Matanzas series, and the Jalonga, Santa Clara and Habana series); the area to the
west of Los Haitises (Guanuma, Elmhurst and Jalonga series); the Samand Peninsula (Greenville
soils, almost exclusively); the Western Cibao region (Jicome and Guayubin series); and the
southwestern region of the country (Francisco series, relatively rock-free phase of the
Matanzas series, and Azua and Elfas Piia series). Class III lands have a potential capability
for cultivation although more limited than in the case of Class I and Class II soils; they
require relatively more intensive, more specialized and more expensive management practices.
Crop diversification is also similarly limited by the various adverse factors that affect each
particular favor unit, particularly the aridity that prevails in the northwestern and south-
western parts of the country. In some cases it may be desirable for economic reasons to use
Class III lands for pasture or even for forestry. Generally speaking, the productivity of
these lands will depend directly on the level and intensiveness of management.

Soils requiring intensive land management and soil conservation practices

The practices recommended will be determined by the special limiting factors of each
particular area. Intensive fertilization and crop rotation, however common requirements for
all soils of this class. Irrigation is important for all Class III lands; for those affected
by aridity it is absolutely vital. Stone removal is important in the case of such soils as
the Jalonga and Euzkalduna series. Conservation practices, such as contour tilling, terracing
and the growing of cover crops, are recommended on lands with some degree of slope, particular-
ly in the case of the friable, light-textured soils of the western part of the country. The
low content of organic matter of many of the Class III soils justifies recommending the addi-
tion of harvest residues to the land and rotation with legumes used as green manure. In'the
case of soils exposed to the risk of salination, it is necessary to adopt cultivation tech-
niques that facilitate leaching and elimination of the salts. The latosolic soils derived
from tonalite require pH-correction measures together with intensive (i.e. repeated but not

heavy) application of fertilizer. In the case of shallow soils, particularly those developed
from friable materials, it is important that tilling be carried out in such a way as
to avoid inversion of the prism and mixing of the unproductive subsoil material with the
surface soils. In some cases, particularly soils such as the Jicorm and Guayubin series,
irrigation must be practiced with the greatest care so as to avoid the accumulation of salts
by influx.

4. Class IV

Lands of limited cultivability, not suited to irrigation
except under special conditions and with very profitable
crops. Chiefly suitable for perennial crops and pasture.
Level or hilly relief. Severe limiting factors. Low to
moderate productivity

Includes clayey residual soils on non-calcareous deposition materials represented in the
central and northeastern parts of the country by the La Vega and Villa Riva series; shallow
residual soils on hard limestone belonging to the Matanzas series, in the southern coastal
plain; poorly drained alluvial and very stony colluvial soils; certain intramontane valleys
and saline lands of the Yaque del Norte River delta and the vicinity of Lake Enriquillo. The
potential value of these soils is largely a matter of economics: their use for farming de-
pends to a great extent on the profitability of the crops concerned and their capacity to re-
turn the investments required to sustain the high level of management demanded. The chief rea-
son for the inclusion of the coastal phase of the Matanzas soils in Class IV is that on the
scale used it is impossible to separate the numerous but small isolated areas of land whose
depth and productivity characteristics correspond to classes\II and III. Use of these lands
will depend also on their superficial relationship with soils belonging to other classes.

Soils requiring intensive management and conservation practices
for crops, and intensive management practices only
for pasture and perennial crops

The wide variety of lands included in this class necessitates management practices adapted
to the special problems of each particular area. Practices common to all areas are intensive
erosion control, moisture conservation, and irrigation and drainage, as well as fertilization
and, in many cases, measures for correction of soil properties. In addition, strip or cover-
crop cultivation and contour tilling are recommended on steeper lands, and in the case of the
sandy and poorly drained soils subsoil plowing with gradual increasing of depth. Such a
practice results in greater aeration of the soil without inversion of strata. The extensive
coastal platform of reef limestones is an exception to this rule; in the areas with adequate
effective depth scattered throughout, the recommendable practices are those corresponding to
classes II and III, while on the other hand, the areas of shallow soils should be devoted
to pasture, cultivation of textile crops or even forestry.

5. Class V

Lands not suitable for cultivation except, in limited areas,
for ricegrowing. Suited chiefly to pasture. Very severe limiting
factors on cultivation. Moderate productivity for improved pasture
and rice, subject to intensive management practices

Includes soils of generally light to medium texture, almost always level and, generally
speaking, of low depth and deficient internal and surface drainage. Inherent fertility is
generally low, and the development of improved pastures requires management practices that
include fertilization. Class V includes residual soils on redeposited materials (represented
chiefly by the Pimentel, Cotuf and Fantino series, widely distributed in the eastern part of
the country); shallow soils on tuffs and andesitic tuffs (La Larga and Lim6n series), and also
shallow and hilly residual soils on limestone; poorly drained soils of intramontane valleys and
river deltas; and old alluvials and also colluvials on steep and on stony slopes. The latter

groups include the hilly lands of the San Juan Valley, the Santiago Rodriguez area, the
vicinity of Gurabo, the quartz-diorite soils of the terraces near Jarabacoa, and those of the
Pleistocene terraces of the Loma de Cabrera region.

Soils that do not require intensive conservation practices, but do
require intensive management practices for improved pasture,
rice and other crops

The permanent pasture or forest cover do not require any special construction besides that
of simple drainage systems or in some cases the removal of stones to improve conditions for
pasture. Cultivation of rice, millet or certain other possible crops such as industrial
fibers will call for management practices appropriate to the needs of each particular crop.
In these cases the required irrigation and drainage systems will be more complex. Since these
lands are typically used for stockraising, it is essential to avoid overgrazing. This can be
done through rational schemes of pasture rotation and selection of pasture species adapted to
the specific conditions of each area. The construction of small ponds is particularly recom-
mended for lands in this class as a means not only of improving the poor drainage conditions
but also of providing water holes for cattle.

6. Class VI

Lands unsuitable for cultivation, except for perennial
and mountain crops. Suited chiefly for forestry and
pasture. Very severe limiting factors particularly
steepness, shallowness and rockiness

Includes generally shallow, rocky or very erosion-prone residual soils; limestone ter-
races; very stony intramontane valleys; very stony or erosion-prone colluvial lands; isolated
elevations and areas of level relief with considerable expanse on mountain crests.Class VI lands
are represented chiefly by the Duarte and Palma soil series in the Cordillera Septentrional,
and the Santana soils in the eastern part of the country, as well as by the foothills of the
Neiba and Bahoruco Sierras in the west, and by some areas of the reef limestone platforms to
the south and west of Barahona and the extreme eastern part of the country, with characteris-
tics of rockiness and low effective depth make them unsuitable for forestry, except in small
isolated areas. These soils belong chiefly to the very rocky and shallow phases of the
Matanzas and Greenville series.

Soils requiring moderate conservation practices for pasture
and perennial crops and rational methods of forest

Areas under pasture that are less steep call for fertilization, maintenance of a permanent
plant cover and avoidance of overgrazing. Deferred grazing, rotation of pastures and periodic
resowing are recommended. Steep lands should be reforested, and whenever possible felling
should be planned in alternating strips following contour lines. Some of the areas with deeper
soils and less steep relief can be used to grow coffee, citrus fruits and other tree crops,
particularly on soils developed from limestone. In these cases it is desirable to maintain a
permanent plant cover between the rows of trees. Rocky, shallow soils on limestone can be used
for pasture, reforestation or cultivation of fruit trees or textile fiber crops when practicing
methods for the conservation of moisture and organic matter.

7. Class VII

Uncultivable lands, suitable only for forestry

This class comprises chiefly areas of rugged mountain terrain which, because of their very
steep relief and, in many cases, their stoniness, are not suitable for agriculture. It also
includes extensive areas of very rocky and shallow soils belonging chiefly to the Matanzas and
Greenville series in which these limiting factors exclude all uses other than forestry, except

in very small areas and with very primitive methods. This class includes the greater part of
the Cordillera Central, the Cordillera Septentrional, the Sierras of Bahoruco and Neiba and the
Montes del Seibo. It also includes the very rocky, very shallow and, in some cases, steep
parts of the reef limestone platforms of southwestern Barahona and of southern HigUey, and the
extensive karstic platform of Los Haitises. An area presenting exceptional conditions that has
been included in this class is that corresponding to peats and mineralized peats. Also includ-
ed are minor areas of hydromorphic soils that cannot be used for farming or stockraising with
normal management practices, since they require complex drainage, irrigation systems and heavy
infrastructure investment.

Soils requiring conservation practices, and rational methods of forest utilization

The general forestry capability of a large part of these lands is limited by their ecolog-
ic conditions--chiefly climate and soils--which tend to foster the development of a
broadleaved, coniferous or mixed forest cover. It may be recommendable on the basis of ec-
ologic reasons that some of the areas of this class be used for coffeegrowing; this will, how-
ever, call for the application of the strictest conservation practices. The areas of residual
soils on limestone can be used for forestry, given conservation measures, and taking advantage
of the soil deposits within the rock. The areas of Nipe soils do not require intensive con-
servation, because of their high degree of stability. Economic utilization of the peat areas
will require intensive and specific management along with conservation measures.

8. Class VIII

Lands not suitable for cultivation. Suited only for use
as national parks, recreation and wildlife areas and
protection of hydrographic basins

This class includes the coastal and inland swamplands that are unsuitable for agriculture
because of drainage and salinity problems; the areas of rugged mountain terrain that must be
kept under permanent forestation (or, in the case of denuded lands, reforested) because of
their very steep relief or their importance in the protection of river basins. It also in-
cludes coastal beaches, including those where coconut palms are grown economically, and the
dune areas west of Cabrera and in Las Calderas. Lands belonging to Class VIII but not indi-
cated on the map because of scale limitations include the hydrographic divide areas, the
margins of the natural drainage systems and all areas that are highly erosion-prone even with
rational forest management. This class must also be regarded as including all areas of the
country which by reason of their natural beauty or exceptional characteristics have a tour-
istic or scientific value that exceeds their value as farming or forestry land.

Soils requiring conservation of their natural state, and rational utilization

Areas of very steep relief still covered by forest must be protected, deforested areas
must be reforested urgently, and measures must be adopted in both types of areas for the
protection of catchment basins. The reforestation and conservation measures should be extended
to include areas bordering towns, highways and cultivated lands. The coastal swamps must be
maintained as protection for wildlife sanctuaries and as salinity containment barriers; the
latter can be expanded by the planting of belts of trees. Where mangrove plantations are
worked, this must be done on a rational basis. The improvements in the national parks and
recreation areas will have to be carried out in such a way as to minimize impairment of natural

Table V-1


Class Land Capability and Potential Use Conservation Requirements

I Cultivable lands, suited to irrigation, with level
relief and without important limiting factors.
High productivity, given good management.

II Cultivable lands, suited to irrigation, with level
undulating or smoothly hilly relief. Limiting
factors not severe and can be compensated through
moderately intensive management practices. High
productivity, given good management.

III Cultivable lands, suited to irrigation but only
with very profitable crops. Level, undulating or
smoothly hilly relief. Rather severe limiting
factors. Moderate productivity, given intensive
management practices. Possible crop range

IV Lands of limited cultivability, not suited to
irrigation except under special conditions and
with very profitable crops. Chiefly suitable
for pasture or perennial crops. Level to hilly
relief. Severe limiting factors. Require very
intensive management practices. Low to moderate

V Lands not suitable for cultivation, except for
ricegrowing. Suitable chiefly for pasture.
Very severe limiting factors, particularly in
relation to drainage. High productivity for
pasture or for rice, subject to very intensive
management measures.

VI Lands unsuitable for cultivation, except for
mountain crops. Suitable chiefly for forestry
and pasture. Very severe limiting factors,
particularly steepness, shallowness rockiness.

VII Uncultivable lands, suitable only for forestry.

VIII Lands not suitable for cultivation. Suitable
only for use as national parks and wildlife

Require only good management

Require moderate conservation

Require intensive conservation

Optimum capability is for tree
crops that require little til-
ling work.

Optimun capability is for pas-
ture, without restrictions.

Optimum capability is for
forest and pasture, with

Optimum capability is for
forest, with severe restrictions.

Recreation and wildlife areas.

Table V-2


Land Use on Basis of Productive Capacity

Tnrrpasina Intensiveness




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I (






Present land use and vegetation types have been studied and mapped at the recon-
naissance level to permit comparison of existing land use and capability. A 1:250 000-
scale map entitled Present Land Use and Vegetation Types is annexed to this report.

In the Dominican Republic most of the best agricultural soils are under some form
of use, and large areas with relatively low agricultural potential are also being cul-
tivated. Cartographic depiction of these agricultural lands is essential in order to
assess the extent to which present land uses are in line with productive capabilities.
Prior to the studies undertaken by the OAS, no country-wide land-use mapping had been
carried out.l/

In spite of the relatively easy accessibility of most areas of the country, there
existed only general and, in some cases, conflicting knowledge of the true extent of
farmland, forests and grasslands in many zones, especially on the northern coast, in the
Samana Peninsula and in the Cordillera Central zone.2/ Land-use mapping was therefore
undertaken for the purpose not only of relating existing uses to capability, but also
of providing a tool for better orientation of land-use related programs, such as agri-
cultural extension and road construction, in the different regions of the country.


The reconnaissance-level mapping was accomplished by means of interpretation of
existing small-scale aerial photographs, supported by field checks.

1. Mapping Materials

For photo-interpretation of land use, 1:60 000-scale aerial photographs taken during
1958-1960 (Project ICM-1,58) were used. This excellent photography, consisting of about

1. There is a 1:10 000 land-use map, prepared by Pedro J. Bona in March 1963, and ozalid-
reproduced by the ICU, which employs a general classification to portray relative density of
farm lands, forests and grasslands in the lower Yuna Valley. The map has no cartographic base,
however. For the same zone there is a series of 1:10 000 topographic maps prepared by Lock Joint
Pipe Co. in 1949 which show land use and certain vegetation types but which are too old to be
useable. In 1963 a 1:200 000-scale map of the Yaque del Sur Basin was prepared by the French
firm of Geotecnip for the Junta Nacional de Planificaci6n; however, the only copy of this map
available in the Dominican Republic was not accessible for consultation.
2. Figures of total area under cultivation, by municipalities and by different crops
and pasture is given in the results of the 1960 agricultural census, tabulation of which was
being completed in 1965 for publication. No data on total forested area was collected during
the census.

1 400 contact prints, covers the entire country, with the exception of a small area in the
Lower Yuna Valley. For the latter area, 1:20 000-scale aerial photographs taken in 1947-48
were provided by the Instituto Cartogrdfico Universitario. Photo-interpretation was done
with a Wild model mirror stereoscope, equipped with binocular lenses, made available by
the Ministry of Public Works.

Aerial photomosaics and topographic maps on a scale of 1:50 000 (AMS Series E034
and E733, respectively), constructed from the above-mentioned 1:60 000 aerial photographs,
were used for the initial compilation work.

2. Mapping Techniques

The land-use mapping was carried out intermittently between April 1965 and April 1966.

Prior to intensive photo-interpretation, field reconnoiters were made in order to com-
pare ground conditions with the photographic images. Field observations on crop types and
land-use practices were recorded on the 1:50 000 photomosaics and later used as a guide in
photo-interpretation work. The data were transferred to the aerial photomosaics by image
match, using red wax pencils. The photomosaics were then photographically reduced and con-
verted to 1:150 000-scale negatives. The mapped information was traced on to 1:150 000-scale
base maps constructed from the same photomosaics. Low-level reconnaissance flights were
made in the northeastern and eastern portions of the country, mainly for the purpose of map-
ping forested zones of the SamanS Peninsula and the eastern part of the Cordillera Septen-
trional where no 1:60 000 aerial photographs had been taken.

The zones reconnoitered from the air are indicated on the Present Land Use and Vegetation
Types Map. The final 1:250 000 map constitutes a photographic reduction of the 1:150 000 com-
pilations, with some modifications imposed by scale limitations.

The following crop types were identified on the 1:60 000 aerial photographs: irrigated
rice, tobacco (identified by the drying-sheds in the fields), sugar cane, coconuts, bananas
and plantains, and plantations of coffee and cocoa (identified by the distinctive shade trees
and also, in the case of coffee, by the small, open patios near the houses, used for drying
the coffee beans). Pine forests could be distinguished from broadleaf forests on the aerial
photographs by using magnifying binoculars. Areas under annual or short-cycle crops were
readily identifiable because during the months in which the aerial photographs were taken
(December through April), most of the fields used for these crops had been harvested and
plowed in preparation for the April/May spring planting.

Information on farming methods and cultivation practices was obtained through interviews
with farmers and local technicians; Peace Corps volunteers also provided much useful infor-
mation. The Ecologic Map produced by this Mission was utilized for differentiation of humid
and arid zone crop types.

3. Development of the Classification

A general classification of land use and vegetation was developed for the reconnais-
sance map, mainly according to the information which could be derived from aerial photo-
interpretation. Major considerations influencing the classification were: a) limitations
imposed by scale (only a few crop types were identifiable); b) permanency of crops (tree
crops versus annual crops), and c) agricultural systems and practices, as influenced
mainly by climatic conditions. Information of quality of crops, production levels and
management techniques is not included in the classification, since there was insufficient
time for systematic compilation of this type of data.

Prior to developing the classification system, the entire Yuna River valley was mapped
according to the type of information which could be derived from the aerial photographs.

A tentative classification was developed which follows the general structure of the World
Land Use Classification of the International Geographic Union.3/ The classification was
subsequently modified as the land-use map was completed; apart from slight modifications
or additions, this generally follows the IGU classification scheme and gives good results
for the reconnaissance mapping performed.

It was found that the problems of cartographic depiction of different land uses
emerged as an important criterion in shaping the classification. Mixed land-use, such
as the concurrence of tree crops, annual crops, and pasture, or of forest, pasture and
shifting cultivation, posed special problems. In order to ensure legibility of the map,
not more than three different land-use types in combination are depicted.

Present Land Use and Vegetation Types

Farming and stockraising are the chief land uses in the Dominican Republic. Because
of the wide rainfall range between the arid valleys in the western half of the country
and the humid eastern portion, land use and crop types vary widely. Nevertheless, given
good soil conditions, adequate water and a subtropical temperature regime, two harvests
a year can be obtained of short-cycle crops--such as rice and beans--which form the basis
of the Dominican diet. As in other subtropical countries, there is a wide range of cul-
tivation of tree crops and also tubers, such as yuca, sweet potatoes and yautfa (malanga).
Sugar cane occupies more than half the better quality agricultural land. Exports of cane
products and of cocoa and coffee provide the basis of the Dominican economy. Minor export
crops are tobacco and bananas.

Although the most fertile and most intensively cultivated lands are located in the Cibao,
there is much land under farming and stockraising in the mountainous and steeply sloping areas
of the country. Most of the farms in the mountainous regions operate at the subsistence level.
Just over half the agricultural land is located in the cordillera and sierra regions. At higher
elevations in the Cordillera Central and the Neiba and Bahoruco Sierras there are pine and broad-
leaf forests.

1. Present Land Use and Vegetation Types

The following description follows the classification used on the Present Land Use and
Vegetation Types Map, in which eight general categories of land use and vegetation types and
subdivisions of these are depicted. The numbers that precede the land use categories described
below correspond to the map legend.


This category includes land not used for the purpose of prime interest in this report,
i.e. agriculture. It covers three principal uses: urban development, mining, and working
of brine deposits.

11 Urban areas

Urban areas and associated uses (airports, military zones, etc.) and also townships
are delineated wherever the survey scale permits. Villages are not shown.

3. International Geographic Union, Report of the Commission on Inventory of World Land
Use, Commonwealth Press, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1956, 67 pp. (Presented at the XVIII Inter-
national Geographical Congress, Rio de Janeiro, 1956.)

12 Open-cast mines

The map shows two places where bauxite deposits are at present being worked by ALCOA,
although bauxite was being extracted only from the more northerly site in 1966.
Stripmining of nickel-bearing lateritic earths occurring in the clays between Piedra
Blanca and Bonao, east of the highway, is planned by the Canadian firm of Falconbridge
Dominicana, C. por A. A limited amount of this lateritic earth has been extracted in
recent years, following the 1960 aerial photography, but the mining sites were not
located and therefore do not appear on the map.

13 Brine operations

Ponds for evaporating salt from sea water are located to the north of the town of
Monte Cristi. There is also a small brine pond on Beata Island off the Barahona


Lands under intensive production of fruit and vegetables are grouped in this land-use
category, in which flower-growing is also included. Although fruit and vegetable species
are grown on all farms, a relatively small total area has been mapped under this category
in view of the scattered occurrence of horticultural plots. Land under horticultural use
can be regarded as.intensively cultivated, particularly in the case of commercial-scale
vegetable growing.

21. Temperate-climate truck crops

Horticultural crops typical of temperate climates are grown on a large scale in only
one area of the country, the Constanza Valley, which has a mean temperature of 17.70C
(Lower Montane moist forest life zone). Carrots, radishes, lettuce, cabbage, string
beans, tomatoes, white potatoes, scallions and onions are among the horticultural
crops typical of temperate climates grown under irrigation in Constanza. Similar
crops are grown on dispersed plots above San Jose de Ocoa, near La Horma, but these
uses have not been mapped. Although onions, tomatoes and potatoes are also grown at
lower and warmer elevations, the quality of the Constanza produce is generally superior.

22 Warmer-climate truck crops

Commercial production of fruit and vegetables at lower elevations throughout the coun-
try is for the most part not sufficiently concentrated to permit cartographic repre-
sentation on the 1:250 000 map. Only larger horticultural areas verified on the ground
are shown on the map. Crops in this category include tomatoes, onions, melons, pineapples,
papaya, and flowers. Not mapped are fruits such as mangoes, soursops, mamey, avocados,
and various citrus fruits such as grapefruit, tangerines and limes, which are not always
found in groves but are more often scattered randomly around dwellings and in pastures
as, for example, to the north of Santo Domingo (figure 17), as well as to the west,
toward Nizao. Generally speaking, these fruits are grown principally in the Subtropical
moist forest life zone and the area of its transition to Subtropical dry forest, as
depicted on the Ecologic Map which accompanies this report and is described in Chapter II.

Tomato cultivation was observed in the Yaque del Norte Valley, near Cerro Gordo.
Tomatoes are less susceptible to fungus and other diseases in this dry zone. At one
time the United Fruit Company (through its La Grenada subsidiary) had about 6 500 hect-
ares under tomatoes in this valley for export to the United States. There is a large
irrigated tomato plantation in the arid BanT area, the produce of which is used, either
fresh or processed, to supply the domestic market.

In the past two years, melons have been grown on irrigated soils south of Azua for
export to the United States. Pineapples of the Spanish and Sugar Loaf varieties are
grown in the Cibao area. They are harvested during the first months of the year. They
are large,weighing 2 to 4 pounds or even more, and of excellent flavor, whether canned

fresh or in candied form. However, these varieties do not withstand handling for export.
Production is scattered and has not been mapped. The 1960 Agricultural Census figures
indicate 3 321 tareas under pineapple in the Province of Santiago, 2 462 tareas in
Maria Trinidad Sanchez Province and 2 463 tareas in La Vega Province. The total area
under pineapple for the whole country is estimated at 11 679 tareas.

Small quantities of grapes are grown on irrigated lands in the Neiba area and along the
north shore of Lake Enriquillo. A French variety, the Aramons (now called Criolla),
was introduced some years ago and is reported to yield between 4.5 and 8.3 metric tons
per hectare a year under irrigation. In 1959 a large number of European varieties were
imported and planted at Los Rios on an experimental basis; some have done well, although
growth is reported to be continuous and possibly excessive for optimum yield.4/

Some of the grapes retailed in Santo Domingo have an acid flavor, and others are not
very sweet; retail prices are high--RD$50 a lb. or more.

23 Fruit and vegetables grown in household gardens

Household garden production of fruit and vegetables is limited to the humid areas of
the country. In the Subtropical moist forest and wet forest life zones a variety of
trees and plants is found around every dwelling, with the notable exception of the
"batey" houses provided to laborers on the large sugar-cane plantations. Household
gardens have not been mapped except where scale permits. The following crop types
typical of the subtropics are grown:
guandul* tobacco oranges
yuca* string beans* grapefruit
sweet potatoes okra
yams egg plant
cocoyams* papaya
squash plantains
corn* bananas
sugar cane mamey

*Principal elements of the rural diet
Fruits consumed but not cultivated are guava, soursop, mamey, mango, breadfruit,
coconuts, gourds, etc.

The above produce is consumed largely on the farm itself, though excess production,
particularly from fruit trees, may be sold.

On small farms, the household gardens may constitute the sole source of family

Some of the tree crops listed in the household garden category are also common on


Tree crops are classified and mapped separately from other agricultural crops. On the
1:60 000 aerial photographs plantation tree crops are fairly easy to identify. The agricultural

4. Manuel Telles de Vasconcellos (FAO), La Viticultura en el Valle de Neyba y en la
Cuenca de Azua; Situaci6n Actual, Posibilidades T'cnicas y Perspectivas Econ6micas (44-page
mimeographed report, held in the archives of the Oficina Nacional de Planificaci6n), 1963.
5. Farms with an area of less than 10 tareas (0.6 hectares or 1.5 acres) in the humid
zones, where the crops listed above are grown, totalled 128 000 in 1966. It is probable that
on farms of this size, most or all of the land is planted to the fruits and vegetables that
fall within this land-use category.

practices and economics of tree plantation management are quite distinct from those oT nru..
cycle or annual crops, classified in category 40. Coffee, cocoa and coconut plantations do
not require intensive tilling of the soil, and with proper management these crops can be grown
on sloping terrain without danger of soil erosion.

30 Miscellaneous tree crops

Tree crops that have not been identified by ground checks are mapped in this category.

31 Cocoa

Cocoa is one of the more important export crops of the Dominican Republic. It is
grown at lower elevations in humid zones of the country (in the more humid parts
of the Subtropical moist forest life zone, and in the Subtropical wet forest life
zone). Most of the production comes from the middle and lower Yuna River Valley and
the coastal plain near'Miches and Sabana de la Mar. It is the predominant crop on
the well-drained soils along the middle and lower parts of the Yuna River and its
tributaries. In the foothills of .the Cordillera Septentrional, it is grown inter-
planted with coffee or as pure plantations.

Between Moca and Salcedo, there are cocoa plantations of fertile soils, chiefly
to the west of Moca, where, because of the lower rainfall, they are giving way to
crops such as yuca, corn, plantains and tobacco. In this area, the cocoa plantations
on flat land are being replaced by the more lucrative short-cycle crops and plantains.

Near Miches and Sabana de la Mar, there are recently-established plantations on
alluvial soils; outside this area, few new plantations were seen. On most of the
plantations, the shade trees are so old and large as to present the aspect of a
forest, whose height and continuous canopy are readily identifiable on the aerial
photographs.6/ Cocoa trees 25 feet tall were seen; some cocoa plantations in the
Yuna Valley and the Cibao are known to be 80 years old.

Varieties of cocoa grown include the Calabacillo or Amelonado, from Trinidad, which
is one of the most widespread; the Trinitario and the Criollo, from Venezuela; and
Mexican varieties now more or less hybridized with the Venezuelan varieties.

For economic production, the upper limit of altitude is 400 to 500 meters above
sea level; best are slopes sheltered from the wind and with a favorable exposure,
and thereby warmer temperatures,such as the southern slopes of the Cordillera Sep-
tentrional. (Theoretically, average temperatures for cocoa growing should be
greater than 210C, which would correspond to altitudes below 660 meters.)

The harvest period in the Yuna Valley is March to May; in the Sabana de la Mar
and Miches coastal plain areas, it is October to January.

Annual production averages 35 to 40 Ibs/tarea in the Salcedo-Moca-La Vega area,
60 Ibs/tarea to the east of San Francisco de Macorfs, and 25 to 301bs./tarea in
the Sabana de la Mar and Miches area. While production in the last-named area
is lowest, the quality of the beans is highest. Factors limiting production
are: 7/ insect pests, particularly "piojillo" or thrips (Selenothrips rubiocinctus);
fungus or black rot (Phytopthora palmivora) and "pudrici6n acuosa" (Manila roreri);
the excessive age of the plantations, the majority of which are over 60 years old;
root-space competition, and the falling of shade-trees--particularly the amapola--
which can destroy or damage as many as ten cocoa trees.

6. The large shade tree most commonly used on cocoa and coffee plantations is the
amapola (Erythrina sp.), whose rounded crown is a mass of reddish orange blossoms.
7. A study of limitations on cocoa production in the Dominican Republic, and possible
measures to increase production has been made by Soria V.J.: Informe T6cnico sobre las
Medidas que Deben Tomarse para Aumentar la Producci6n de Cacao en la RepOblica Dominicana.
(Turrialba, Costa Rica: Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences, 1962); 32 pp;
mimeographed. A copy of this report is held by the Oficina Nacional de Planificaci6n.
Some of its recommendations were being implemented in 1965, particularly with respect to the
introduction of new hybrids.

Cocoa is also processed for domestic consumption and export as candy. There is
a chocolate factory at Puerto Plata, administered by the Corporaci6n de Fomento

32 Coffee

Coffee, the Dominican Republic's second most important export crop, has been mapped
where shade trees indicate plantations. Drying patios identifiable on the aerial
photographs are also shown. The large areas of coffee plantations shown on the map
are located in the southeastern slopes and heights of the Cordillera Septentrional
and in the Sierra del Bahoruco. Most of the coffee plots are too small to be shown
on the 1:250 000 map.

Altitude limits for economic coffee production are 150 to 1 500 meters above sea
level. Although the subtropical temperature regime permits sea-level cultivation
of coffee, lower-level cultivation is mainly for home consumption. Coffee production
is concentrated principally in the Subtropical and Lower Montane moist forest life zone.
There is some production in the wet forest zones, though rainfall may be excessive
for optimum yields (see Ecologic Map). Most of the coffee plantations are located
on rolling or steep terrain or on alluvial soils in creeks or ravines. In areas
of mixed agricultural land use, coffee plantations may occupy up to one third of
the land, the rest being devoted to pasture or shifting cultivation (categories 60
and 50, discussed below).

There are three major coffee-growing regions in the Dominican Republic:

The Cordillera Septentrional

Plantations start at 200 above sea-level near Moca and Salcedo, and at progressively
higher elevations toward the western part of the Cordillera, on the Cibao side. In the
most westerly part of the Cordillera, coffee-growing is restricted to elevations above
400 meters.

Coffee yields in this region range from 40 to 50 Ibs per tarea. The quality of the
coffee originating from this side of the Cordillera is said to be impaired through mixing
in the roasting process with low-altitude coffee grown in the Cibao.

Southeastern extension of the Cordillera Central

North of Banf and west of San Jose de Ocoa, coffee is grown at elevations from 200
to 1 500 meters above sea level. Near San Jose de Ocoa, the subhumid conditions preclude
cultivation below 300 meters. This is a zone of small plantations, mixed with pasture
lands and hillside cultivation. Yields are reported to be of the order of 40 Ibs per tarea.
The quality of the beans is said to vary, owing in part to the excessive time lag between
harvesting and roasting. However, some of the best locally-consumed coffee comes from
this area.

Eastern extension of the Sierra del Bahoruco

The highest quality coffee exported by the Dominican Republic is grown in this region,
at elevations between 400 and 1 300 meters above sea level. Relatively large areas under
coffee can be seen on the map, chiefly between the 700 and 1 200 meters contours.. Rather
low yields, of 25 to 30 Ibs/tarea are reported; however, quality is high owing to the rela-
tively small differences in altitude of the plantations and the resulting uniform quality
of the roasted beans.

Factors limiting quantity and quality of coffee production in the Dominican Republic
are neglect of plantations (inadequate pruning and shade regulation, and lack of weed and
pest control and fertilization), delay between picking and processing and, in some areas,
lack of sufficient water for hulling the berries in the mills.

Farmers in the Cordillera Septentrional state that the minimum plantation size needed
to ensure an acceptable standard of living from coffee-growing is between 75 and 100

33 Coconut and other palms

Only the coastal coconut plantations appear on the map. However, coconut palms
are found throughout the country and rank among the more important agricultural
crops. In the humid areas (Subtropical Moist and Wet Forest), coconut palms are
almost always present in pasture lands and near dwellings. The concentration of
groves in the Nagua and Sanchez areas has spurred plans for a processing industry
in that area (proposed by IDB industrial experts in 1965). It is interesting to
note that the very humid conditions that prevail there cause the coconuts to drop
from the palms without the need for picking.

Coconut palms are also abundant on irrigated soils in the western half of the
country; this palms tolerates the saline conditions that occur in places such as
the Lake Enriquillo area, provided there is sufficient moisture in the root zone.

Other palms that grow inland but are not shown on the map, owing to their scat-
tered occurrence, are the Royal palm (Roystonea regia), which requires the same
humidity conditions as the coconut, and the cana palm (Sabal umbraculifera),
which extends into the less arid part of the Subtropical Dry Forest zone. Both
palms are valuable to the rural population. The Royal palm yields bunches of small,
round fruits (1.5 cm. in diameter), called palmiche, which are fed to pigs; the
leaf petiole (called yagua) is used for thatching and wall construction, to make
rope, and as a container.

The leaves of the manacla palm (which grows in the Subtropical Wet Forest zone)
are also used for thatching. The leaf of the cana palms is widely used for
thatching roofs of dwellings and building tobacco drying sheds. Income from
the sale of leaves appears to be an important supplement to the earnings of many
rural inhabitants, notably in the area between Monci6n and Santiago RodrTguez
and other subhumid areas, where palms are numerous in the pastures. The palm is
purposely planted and the leaves cut periodically. An additional use for palm
leaves in this region is for weaving seats and backs for rocking chairs and other
articles of furniture. Another palm of some economic importance is the Cacheo
palm (Pseudophoenis vinifera), which is found only in the Subtropical dry forest
life zone. From the buds and young leaves of this palm a juice is squeezed which
is then slightly fermented to make a soft drink known as cacheo. However, this
destroys the palm, and few are now seen; scattered cacheo palms were observed
near Puerto Escondido, south of Lake Enriquillo, and near Los Uveros, north of
Villa Vazquez.

34 Plantains and bananas

Plantains and bananas have been mapped together. They are indistinguishable on
the aerial photographs, and even in the field are difficult to differentiate when
not in fruit. The leaf stems of plantains have light green borders, while those
of bananas are slightly yellowish. A variety of banana called peciolo rulo is
identified by a slightly greyish tinge to the edge of the leaf stem.

The plantain (the cooking variety), is basic to the Dominican diet and is both
a subsistence and a cash crop. Commercial production is concentrated in the
San Francisco de Macoris-La Vega area, where plantains flourish in the fertile
soils of the Moca association (see Soils Associations Map). There is also con-
siderable production on irrigated plots in the southwestern part of the country.
The plantains grown in Barahona are of very good quality and are considered to
be the best produced in the country.

Commercial irrigated plantations of the Gros Michel banana were established on
the alluvial soils along the Yaque del Norte River many years ago. The area
under cultivation was greatly increased from 1960 onwards, but shortly thereafter
the Panama Disease spread to most of the lands under production in that valley.

Although some affected plantations were replanted with the resistant Lacatan
or media mata variety, commercial production has declined. The fall in production
has become acute as a result of the damage caused by the 1963 hurricane and also

of the shut-down in 1965 of the plantations run by United Fruit Company's sub-
sidiary, the Grenada company, which in 1966 was negotiating the sale of its lands
near Manzanillo, where it had 560 hectares of bananas under irrigation. South of
Azua, Gros Michel bananas are grown for export on irrigated lands by the Dominican
Fruit and Steamship Company. Water is pumped from 47 wells, averaging 1 200 g.p.m.
each, to irrigate the plantations in this arid zone.

Small-scale cultivation of bananas and plantains is found in all humid zones of the
country (Subtropical Moist and Wet Forest); this is also mapped in categories 40
and 51, since the use of land for this crop type may not be permanent.

35 Rubber

Small plantations of rubber were established in Samana during the second world war;
the mapping is based on field observations. Two other small plantations are shown
on the map: one near Piedra Blanca and the other southwest of the San Juan River.

36 Mahogany

Plantations of mahogany (Swietenia mahogani) have been mapped separately from other
forest plantations because they are essentially private operations, whereas the
forest plantations are generally state-operated. Mahogany has been planted on a
small scale in various parts of the country. Those mapped are based on field ob-
servations. A small plantation was observed to the north of La Romana, near
Guaymate, as well as other small plantations just north of Santo Domingo, where
the land is used chiefly for improved pasture.

37 Forest Plantations

The only forest plantation of large size in the country is on land belonging to
the Loma de La Sal Experimental Station, southeast of Jarabacoa, which is administered
by the Ministry of Agriculture's Forestry Department. Experimental plantings of
mahogany, green ebony, eucalyptus and cedar have been made at 1 040 meters above
sea level, but the greater part of the mapped area has not received forestry attention.


The lands in this major category that have been mapped are used for the continuous cul-
tivation of annual crops. Where climatic and soild conditions permit, at least two harvests
a year of certain crops are possible, owing to the year-round warm temperatures. Thus, on
alluvial and other fertile soils, in areas with nine or more consecutive months of adequate
rainfall, crops such as rice, corn, and beans can be harvested twice a year. These conditions
are found on the wetter side of the Subtropical moist forest and Subtropical wet forest life
zones. Continuously cultivated irrigated lands in the arid valleys of the western half of
the country are also mapped in this category.

Lands under short-cycle crops undergo intensive periodic tilling and are more susceptible
to erosion and loss of fertility than lands under plantations or tree crops. Special attention
must therefore, be paid to maintenance of soil productivity. Only the best quality soils sup-
port continuous cultivation without substantial erosion control measures and applications of
chemical fertilizer, particularly in high-rainfall areas. The total area of agricultural land
that meets these conditions is relatively small, as can be seen from the Land Capability Map.

Except for a few crops listed below, the different types of short-cycle crops have not
been identified, because they could not be distinguished on the 1:60 000-scale photographs.
Also, the lands on which these crops are grown are cleared and plowed during the season when
the aerial photographs were taken. Crops classified in this land-use category include rice,
corn, beans, peanuts, and tobacco, all of which have relatively short growing periods; yucca,

yautia and other tubers, which have growth cycles of ten to twelve months or longer; and sugar
cane, with a harvest cycle of 12 to 18 months.

All these crops are suited to the very wide range of rainfall conditions within the
Subtropical moist and Subtropical wet forest life zones. Tobacco, however, grows better in
areas where rainfall makes them marginal to dry zones (Subtropical dry forest); on the other
hand, rice cultivation without irrigation is limited to the wetter portions of the Subtropical
moist and Subtropical wet forest zones.

40 Mixed Crops

Land under continuous production of fast-growing annuals is classified in the mixed-
crops category in cases in which the crop types could not be determined or shown
cartographically. The commonest crops are beans, corn, yuca and--in the higher rain-
fall zones--rice. Sugar cane, yuca, yams, cocoyams, sweet.potatoes and guandules are
also cultivated on these lands. Intercropping is a common practice, some of the com-
binations being: corn and yuca; beans, corn and yuca; and corn and yuca and

Crop rotation sequences vary from region to region, and with the degree of commercial-
ization of production. No set patterns was observed; nor were examples seen of rotation
of gramineae or tubers with legumes, which does not appear to be a common practice.

41 Tobacco

Tobacco-growing has been mapped only in the Cibao Valley immediately to the east and
west of Santiago, where the drying barns can be discerned on the aerial photographs.
Although this is the most important tobacco-growing area,this crop is grown throughout
the Dominican Republic, as a cash crop and for home consumption.8/

In the Cibao Valley, tobacco is commonly rotated with corn, which is planted in
November or December.

Experimentation with tobacco has been under way for only a short time; at present,
there are experimental stations at Nigua, Pont6n and Azua.

Turkish and Burley varieties were introduced in 1964. Trials to date have not yielded
conclusive results, though it appears they were probably favorable; the experimentation
results have not been published.

The halting of Cuban tobacco exports has stimulated increased production in the
Dominican Republic. In the Cibao a variety known as "piloto cubano" is being culti-
vated under shade on an experimental basis; the leaf of this variety is used as a
cigar wrapper. In 1965, a number of Cuban tobacco agronomists were providing tech-
nical assistance in connection with this and other crops.

42 Corn

This important crop has been specifically mapped only in the Cibao, where it is rotated
with tobacco. However, corn (not the hybrid type) can be regarded as present wherever
the symbol 40 (mixed farming) is shown.

Corn is grown for human as well as animal consumption. It is served boiled on the
cob, especially in the local dish known as "sancocho," which is made from chicken and

The Agricultural Bank buys the corn, stores it in its own silos and sells it, thereby
maintaining a certain degree of price stability.

8. Of the total of 980 181 tareas under tobacco in 1963, the Cibao Valley accounted
for 461 823 areas, or 47 per cent. The number of farmers cultivating tobacco was increasing
rapidly. First National Tobacco Census, Preliminary Data, (Instituto del Tabaco de la RepG-
blica Dominicana, Santiago de los Caballeros, 1963), 23 pp.

43 Rice

Rice is a staple of the Dominican diet and is widely grown on both irrigated and
unirrigated lands. Only irrigated ricelands have been mapped; the leveled fields
and the dikes can be discerned on the 1:60 000-scale aerial photographs.

Rice cultivation can be classified into: 1) Rainfed ricefarming; 2) irrigated rice-
farming in dry zones (Subtropical dry forest), and 3) irrigated ricefarming in humid
zones (Subtropical moist and wet forest). Rainfed rice--watered by rainfall only--
can be cultivated only in the Subtropical moist forest life zone where rainfall ap-
proaches 2 000 mm. and in the Subtropical wet forest life zone. Two crops a year
are possible under optimum rainfall distribution conditions.

Dry-zone irrigated rice is grown near Dajab6n, in the Yaque del Norte Valley near
Boca de Mao, and in the Yaque del Sur Valley, where production is concentrated on
the clay and sandy loam soils in the vicinity of San Juan de la Maguana. A great
deal of water is needed to irrigate this crop in arid zones.

Humid-zone irrigated rice requires less irrigation water,9/ and in fact drainage
measures may be required, as is the case near Nagua.

Irrigation in these zones can be viewed more properly as water regulation and control,
particularly in the case of rice cultivation in the Yuna River delta region. In this
case, a special subclassification, arroz de cidnaga (swamp rice), is used on the map
(43c, described below).

On irrigated ricelands, two crops a year are harvested, usually in July and December.
It was observed that all irrigated ricefields were kept continuously submerged until
harvest. Transplanting appears to be the only planting method used. It was noted
that all cultivation operations are done manually. Contrary to the practice in Asia,
fruit or citrus trees are not commonly grown on the dikes of irrigated fields.

Rice yields vary considerably, chiefly according to cultivation methods and soil
management practices. Near Dajab6n, the Japanese farmers of La Vigia obtain as much
as five fanegas per tarea (1 fanega = 100 kilograms); one and half fanega per tarea
is about average for most of the country, however. At the Juma rice experimental
station, yields of more than six fanegas per tarea have been reported.

The varieties at present grown have growth cycles of 150 to 180 days. The faster
growing varieties would perhaps yield more than two harvests a year, given the neces-
sary water. Nowadays, the fields are left fallow from December to March or April,
during which time they are grazed by livestock, particularly dairy cattle. In the
arid zones, the grass on fallow rice fields is probably the only source of succulent
forage throughout the period from December to April, which is virtually rainless in
the Yaque del Norte and Yaque del Sur river valleys. Cultivation of other crops
during these months does not appear to be feasible, since the soil remains exces-
sively humid, but the possibility should be investigated.

43c Swamp Rice

In the Yuna River Valley, below Villa Riva, backwater areas behind the levees of the
Yuna and its tributaries are planted with rice. These swampy areas are flooded natural-
ly by the seasonal overflowing of the Yuna River, and need a minimum of preparation for
planting with rice. The flood waters drain away slowly however, with the consequent
sprouting of weeds which compete for nutrients and soil water and thereby adversely
affect yields. The total area mapped as swamp rice is 200 000 tareas. Yields of up
to 3 fanegas per tarea are reported on these lands in the Lower Yuna Valley, probably
owing to the fertility of the alluvial soils, which are periodically enriched by flood-
deposited silt. Improvement of areas where swamp rice is now grown, by means of water
supply and regulation measures, appears to present an excellent opportunity for a devel-
opment project yielding an immediate return.

9. See Hydrologic Data and Consumptive Water Use Map for information on water
requirements for rice irrigation in the various regions of the country.

44 Sugar cane

All the major sugar cane areas were mapped on the basis of the distinctive field pat-
terns observable on the 1:60 000 aerial photographs. Their identification was also
facilitated by the sharp contrast between the very light-colored harvested fields and
the darker tones of the adjacent unharvested stands.

The total area under sugar cane in 1960 was nearly 3 million tareas, of which 2.5 mil-
lion was accounted for by large plantations operated by the state-owned Corporaci6n
Azucarera Dominicana, the South Puerto Rican Sugar Corporation (at La Romana), the
Compaiia An6nima de Explotaciones Industriales (CAEI), and others. The major areas of
irrigated sugar cane are located in the Enriquillo basin, in the Yaque del Norte Valley
near Esperanza and also near the lower Nizao River. Unirrigated cultivation is greatly
concentrated on the Caribbean Coastal Plain.

According to the 1960 Agricultural Census, sugar cane yields vary widely, from 1.24
tons per tarea in the Municipality of Monte Plata to almost six tons per tarea in
the Enriquillo basin (Municipalities of Neiba, Tamayo y Barahona).

Although a large proportion of total sugar cane lands are owned and operated by the
State, no attempt was made to evaluate the technical aspects of the cultivation and
processing of this crop, as a similar study was being carried out under contract by
a private firm. However, a general appraisal of present sugar cane areas, taking
into account soil capability and climatic conditions in these areas, indicates that
ecologic conditions are not favorable for optimum production in certain zones, notably
around Sabana Grande de Boy6.

46 Cotton

There is a total of about 45 000 tareas under cotton, concentrated on two plantations
near Isabela at the mouth of the Bajabonico River, and South of Enriquillo on the
southeast coastal plain of the Barahona Peninsula. Both farms are operated by the
Consorcio Algodonero (Cotton Consortium) of the state-owned Corporaci6n de Fomento
Industrial (Industrial Development Corporation). Cotton cultivation was started in
the Oviedo/Juancho area in 1958 and about 30 000 tareas are now under production.l0/
Sowing begins in June or July, and harvesting takes place from December to February.
Rainfall is reported to be the minimum required for cotton cultivation. In the
Isabela area there was once--years ago--49 000 tareas under cultivation, but in
1965 no more than 20 000 tareas was planted. In this area, sowing is done in December
when rainfall is more adequate; yields of 2.2 to 2.4 quintales per tarea were reported.
Cultivation in both areas is mechanized, the same machinery being used on both plan-
tations, which is possible because of the different planting periods. In 1966, a
study was under way of the Isabela plantation with a view to dividing it up and set-
tling needy families there.


Fast-growing or short-cycle crops are not always cultivated in areas where soil and
climatic conditions permit continuous production, as in the case of the previous category.
A considerable part of the land used for agriculture does not sustain continuous cultivation,
because of loss of soil fertility and unreliable rainfall. These two limitations result in
an unstable agricultural activity in which land is not under continuous cultivation. Much
of the areas mapped under one of the two sub-categories described below may be regarded as
problem areas, in which the majority of farmers operate at the subsistence level.

Lands under discontinuous or transitory production of short-cycle crops are subclas-
sified into humid and arid zones, since possible crop types and obstacles to continuous pro-
duction are related to general humidity conditions.

10. The locations of these farms as indicated on the map are approximate.

51 Humid-zone crops

The principal short-cycle crops in this subcategory are corn, beans, yucca, plantains
and, in the more humid areas, rain-fed rice. The humid areas correspond to the Sub-
tropical moist forest and wet forest, and also the Lower Montane, life zones; te
crops mentioned are grown chiefly on marginal soils of sloping or steep terrain.
Continuous production is not possible on such lands because soil productivity is
lowered by erosion and depletion of fertility after several years of cropping. Periods
of cultivation and fallow vary considerably, according to the type of soil parent-
material and the humidity conditions, which affect soil weathering and the leaching
of nutrients. In the Subtropical wet forest life zone, where natural regeneration is
exuberant, fallowed fields are rapidly invaded by weeds, shrubs and trees. In less
humid areas, where natural regeneration is easier to control the land can be maintained
in pasture during the rotation period, as is the case in the northern Sierra de Yamasa.
However, the farmers interviewed considered natural regrowth to be better because when
it is burned the ashes return some of the nutrients to the soil. Lands under this
system of cultivation can be identified on the aerial photographs by the mosaic pattern
of cleared fields and abandoned fields in different stages of regrowth.

A farmer who depends for his livelihoood on the cultivation of short-cycle crops in
this category requires three or four times as much land as a farmer whose land pro-
duces continuously, since in any one year he will have more land under fallow than
under cultivation. Thus, if his hillside plot produces only two years and requires
four years of fallow, he will need three times as much land as a farm on good alluvial
soils under continuous cultivation.

Generally speaking, however, hillside farmers also cultivate a small plot of coffee
or cocoa and may in addition keep a few cattle. In the hill areas where this type of
agriculture is practiced, maximum use is made of the alluvial soils at the bottoms
of small draws and creeks. On the Present Land Use and Vegetation Types Map this
subcategory is usually mapped in combination with grassland (category 60), coffee or
cocoa (31, 32), brush (74), and, in some instances, broadleaf forest (71).

If this category of land use is compared with land capability, as shown on the Land
Capability Map, it is found that most of the land mapped as 51 occurs on soils with
very little or no agricultural capability, particularly for crops that require inten-
sive tilling. The obvious result of such tilling on steeply sloping terrain is ac-
celerated soil erosion, as may be observed in the San Jose de Ocoa area. The soils
and water conservation problems of these lands require immediate attention.

52 Dry-zone crops

The principal crops of this subclass are corn, yuca, peanuts and tobacco, which are
better able to tolerate the dry conditions. Cultivation of these crops in the sub-
humid or arid zones is discontinuous, not because of loss of soil fertility but rather
owing to the irregularity of the rainfall. The erratic nature of the rainfall in those
arid portions of the country where these crops are grown (Subtropical dry forest, and
the drier portions of the Subtropical moist forest, exclusively) frequently causes
crop failure. Farmers may plant a field only if rain has fallen, and even then can
never be sure that a later water shortage will not destroy the crop.

In the case of peanuts, an important cash crop in the subhumid zones of the country,
a rainless period.of 15 consecutive days after flowering will suffice to ruin the crop.

At Sabana Arriba, in the Yaque del Norte Valley, farmers report six out of ten harvests
are lost because of inadequate rain. Around Santiago Rodriguez, where peanuts are
planted twice a year, four out of ten harvests are lost. Similar rates of crop loss
occur in the San Juan Valley and around El Cercado. On the Sabana Grande agricultural
settlement, seven out of ten crops are lost.

Farmers interviewed throughout the Subtropical dry forest zone, stated that the
only "good" year in the last ten was 1963, when hurricane Flora created abundant
rainfall in normally arid zones of the country.


All lands whose predominant cover is grass are mapped under this major category. While
grasslands are easily identified on aerial photographs, subclassification was not possible
by photo-interpretation and is based entirely on fields observations.

Much of the land mapped in this category was not subclassified. It is noteworthy that
much pastureland was observed that carried no cattle, particularly in the eastern part of
the country.

60 Unclassified pasture

Field observations were not made of these grasslands.

61 Improved pasture

Improved pastures have few weeds, and the fields are usually fenced off and planted
with forage grasses. In the humid zones of the country, pangola grass (Digitaria
decumbens) is very common; Para grass (Panicum purpurascens) was also noted on
hydromorphic soils in the Yuna delta area. In the humid zones (Subtropical moist
and wet forest) the improved pastures commonly contain coconut and royal palms and
mango trees. Immediately north of Santo Domingo there are improved pastures on
farms that carry citrus and also mahogany trees.

Guinea grass (Panicum maximuna) is usually sown on improved pastures in subhumid
and arid zones, and the cana palm is almost always allowed to remain. There are
extensive pastures in the Caribbean Coastal Plain, adjacent to sugar cane plantations.
There are also large areas of pastureland in the Atlantic Coastal Plain.

62 Unimproved pasture

Grassland which is grazed but has not been improved by planting forage varieties
and which is characterized by a fairly heavy growth of weeds, shrubs and trees is
classified as unimproved pasture. Such land is likely to be former cropland that
has been abandoned because of low fertility or deficient internal soil drainage.

63 Apparently unused grassland on very broken terrain.

Considerable areas of steep or mountainous land in the Dominican Republic have grass
cover. While some of these steep grasslands may be grazed occasionally, they appear
to be largely unused. At higher elevations in the high-rainfall areas, these grass-
lands may be abandoned fields where farming has been attempted unsuccessfully. Other
areas may exist within conifer forest regions where growth has been arrested by fire
and natural regeneration of the forest has not yet begun.

For the greater part of the grasslands in this subcategory, field verification was
prevented by the inaccessibility of the areas mapped. It is believed that much of
the land mapped in this category is burned-off either accidentally, as a result of
clearing operations on adjacent lands, or intentionally, at the end of the dry season,
possibly to promote the growth of succulent grasses.

The varieties of grass found on such lands are Jaragua (Hyparrhenia rufa), melado
or molasses grass (Melinis minutiflora) and Madame Michel (Themeda quadrivalvis).

64 Periodically or permanently wet savannas, commonly grazed

In the Yuna River Delta and in the Boba River basin, poorly drained or seasonally
flooded soils support a grassy vegetation which is grazed when not flooded. Para
grass (Panicum purpurascens), also known as Paez grass, is one of the grasses found
in these wet sites.


All lands under forests and natural vegetation have been mapped in this general category.
In some cases a visual appraisal was made of the density of the conifer forests, which are
indicated on the map with the suffix A (dense stand) or B (open or sparse stand).

Forests and vegetation have been mapped principally on the basis of aerial-photo inter-
pretation. However, in transition zones between arid and humid conditions the Ecologic Map
was used as a guide. A detailed description of the natural vegetation of the various life
zones of the country is given in Chapter II (Ecology).

From the economic standpoint, the pine and broadleaf forests are extremely important.
A random comparison of aerial photography taken in 1948 and in 1958-1960 indicates a marked
decline in the total area under these types of forest. Low-level aerial reconnoiters over
forested areas in 1965 revealed that deforestation had continued at an accelerated pace since
1960, particularly in the headwater areas of the Yuna and Boba rivers.

71 Broadleaf forest

As the map shows, the major areas of broadleaf forest are located in Los Haitises
and in the Cordillera Central. In many places pine trees may be mixed with the
broadleaf forest; this is indicated by the symbol 71/72. Broadleaf forests mapped
here are generally higher than 15 meters; however, height of stands was not determined
by photogrammetric techniques. In the Cordillera Central, at elevations above
2 000 meters, this type of forest does not attain more than 15 meters on average.
In low areas, trees may reach 30 meters in height. The economic aspects of these
forests are discussed in Chapter VII.

72 Pine stands

Stands of Pinus occidentalis were identifiable on the 1:60 000 aerial photographs
with the aid of magnifying binoculars. A close correlation appears to exist between
pine stands and soil conditions not valid for other types of natural vegetation.
Near Bonao, pine grows on lateritic soils developed from serpentine; it is probable
that the magnesium present in these soils is toxic for other tree species. In the
Sierra de Bahoruco, pines occur on very stony shallow soils that would not support
other vegetation. The pines seen in this area along the Haitian frontier and near
Aceitillar are not particularly large trees, except where the soils are deep.
In the Cordillera Central area, the limits of pine forests have been adjusted on
the basis. of field observations. Stand density adjustments were not made, however.
Thus, for example, the area to the west of Valle Nuevo has been logged in recent
years but is mapped as 72A, i.e. dense pine.

A considerable part of the land bordering on the Cordillera Central forests consists
of open grassland with scattered pine trees (symbols 60 + 72B or 72). These areas are may be
burned-off periodically to improve the grazing qualities of the grass cover, with the result
that pine regeneration is inhibited. Accidental or uncontrolled fires may be an even more
important factor in preventing the development of pines in these areas. Such areas have good
potential for natural regeneration, provided fires and over-grazing are controlled.

73 Low thorn scrub

Low thorn scrub constitutes the principal vegetation cover in the arid areas of the
country corresponding to the Subtropical dry forest and Subtropical thorn woodland
life zones. This vegetation type has limited commercial value and was observed to
have been greatly altered both by the activities of woodcutters and by grazing.
Rural dwellers in arid zones usually keep goats and cut wood to make charcoal to sup-
plement the income from their plots. Some inhabitants subsist entirely on charcoal
and goat-raising.

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