DNER acquires land next to Guánica dry forest
By The Star Staff
The Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) has acquired 44.13 acres adjacent to the Guánica State Dry Forest to prevent the land from being converted to non-forest uses, DNER Secretary Anaís Rodríguez Vega said Tuesday.
“Land acquisition is done in accordance with the Forest Legacy program of the Forest Service of the federal Department of Agriculture,” Rodríguez Vega said in a written statement. “The land will be added to the land comprising the well known forest.”
“These lands are necessary and of public utility within the criteria of the Forest Legacy program and in accordance with the public policy of the Government of Puerto Rico on conservation and management of natural and environmental resources in harmony with ecologically sustainable economic development,” the DNER secretary said.
The acquisition “protects and improves water quality and supplies, protects habitat for wildlife, maintains habitat connectivity and related values to ensure biodiversity, and maintains and restores ecosystem functioning and forest sustainability, as well as the cultural and economic vitality of nearby rural communities,” Rodríguez Vega noted.
The official said the land was purchased at fair market value as determined by appraisal, and as required by the aforementioned federal program. The $80,000 purchase granted to the DNER for Forest Legacy was made without reservation or limitations, she added. It was not announced from whom the land was purchased.
Rodríguez Vega said the acquired land cannot be sold, exchanged or transferred in any way and will be an integral part of the state dry forest.