Las Tunas, Cuba.- Among other vulnerabilities, there is evidence of an increase in coastal flooding due to the influence of hydro meteorological events; the rise in annual average temperature; the increase of saline intrusion in aquifers with access to the sea, with the consequent degradation of soils; as well as the intensification of the drought, since it is the region with the lowest average annual rainfall in the country, and of the nine with the lowest forest cover (19.14 percent).
Reynol Pérez Fernández, senior specialist of the Environmental Group of the Provincial Delegation of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (Citma), told 26 Digital that the problems of drought and soil degradation are associated with the geographical position of the region, which has little benefit from rains. He also said that the trend in recent years -according to studies- is to increase minimum temperatures and reduced rainfall.
Regarding the low forest cover, Pérez Fernández said that we should remember that seven of the sugar mills built by U.S. in Cuba in the neocolonial stage were in the territory of Las Tunas. This resulted in the deforestation of large extensions of land for the sowing of cane.
However, from 1984 to the present there is a continuous but not accelerated growth of forest cover. The varietal policy is still insufficient, because the most easily reproducible species are multiplied and not the best ones economically, or the most suitable from the environmental point of view, but there has been a remarkable progress.
The president of the Councils of State and Ministers pointed out on May 20 the importance of prioritizing reforestation here, given the high desertification of soils, and introducing advanced technologies for irrigation.
The authorities of the Government of Las Tunas implement a plan that includes 51 tasks, mainly in the municipalities of Puerto Padre, Jesús Menéndez, Manatí and Amancio Rodríguez, in which the greatest weaknesses are evident. Among the actions carried out, ordering plans have been updated in the coastal settlements; 19 hectares of mangrove were reforested; and cleaning and reforestation was carried out to protect the area of the sandy beach of Covarrubias, in the municipality of Puerto Padre.
As well, 25 new varieties of various crops, vegetables and grains more resistant to drought have been introduced; eight kilometers of irrigation canals were benefited in the municipalities of Jesús Menéndez and Manatí; actions for water supply in areas with saline intrusion were held.