A survey of 139 men and 123 women in four communities bordering Los Haitises National Park in the Dominican Republic took place in late 1992. The survey followed a presidential decree ordering the army to clear the forest of people and cattle and to resettle a number of villages. The survey found that people admitted using the forest for firewood and cash crop cultivation. However, they were aware of the need to conserve the forest and expressed willingness to compromise on its use. They were less aware of park boundaries and did not understand the concept of a national park. Villagers welcomed rapid population growth, and women favor (and have) large families despite high rates of sterilization. Nearly everyone opposed resettlement and favored community participation in programs to reduce pressures on the park. In addition to providing housing and services, a resettlement program will have to find adequate substitutes for current park activities that provide cash income. Of a battery of social indicators such as gender, age, or socio-economic status, few showed much relationship to park use or attitudes toward conservation, the exception being community and religion.


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