Landscape-Based Recovery for Haiti?

Integrating Tree Planting with Farming in Haiti.
Integrating Tree Planting with Farming in Haiti.
image: Trees for the Future

An article in a recent issue of Newsweek (A Tree Grows in Haiti by Jeneen Interlandi) describes how a revitalized landscape is needed to promote economic recovery in the devastated country.

Throughout the 1900s, almost all of Haiti’s forests were felled for timber production and plantations, and to provide farm plots, cooking fuel, and charcoal for a population that tripled during this time.  The result is a denuded landscape that contributes to poverty and food insecurity, and exacerbates the effects of natural disasters.

International agencies and aid organizations are promoting reforestation as a way to rebuild Haiti, and indicate that this must happen quickly because the country’s little remaining forest is at risk of conversion to subsistence agriculture and harvest for the charcoal trade.  Done right, restoring Haiti’s forests can reduce erosion and renew the soil, and these environmental benefits can ultimately improve the economy.  Non-profit organizations, such as Trees for the Future, propose that a sustainable reforestation program, which includes training of Haitians in long-term agroforestry management, can help provide jobs, food, and energy.

The article states that “in Haiti there can be no economic growth without environmental restoration.”  It is encouraging that a widely-read magazine is reporting not only on human impacts on ecosystem services, but that these impacts can be ameliorated by restoration and stewardship of natural resources, with benefits to human communities.

by Ruth Stafford

3 thoughts on “Landscape-Based Recovery for Haiti?

  1. asla staff July 5, 2012 / 8:09 pm

    Georgia Says:
    July 27, 2010 at 9:51 pm
    Timely article. Recently have been wondering how we can use our skills in Haiti. Now we have a contact — Tree for the Future.

  2. asla staff July 5, 2012 / 8:09 pm

    angel rodriguez alonso Says:
    July 28, 2010 at 11:32 pm
    The reforestation of Haiti is a complex problem that needs to be address .First people should be educated to learn the consecuences of deforestation and learn the positive side of reforestation.The practices of burning fuel for cooking should be eliminated by providing other means of fuel (gas ,solar power ,eolic power)There should be a study made of the worst areas undergoing deforestation and banks of seedlings be established in diferent parts of the country.Since these nurserys are labor intensive ,communities should be involved in the process so that men as woman can establish and maintain the plantings at least for three years.Neigboring nations like Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico should contribute to this seed banks ,providing seeds of appropiate trees.Native trees should also be encourage to be planted.ASLA should establish a group for providing free counseling on the reforestation issue .

  3. asla staff July 5, 2012 / 8:10 pm

    George Joseph Jr Says:
    August 3, 2010 at 10:58 am
    Elite General Construction Inc. A United State Company is working on a Design Build Project in Haiti. We have already partnered up with Sterling Enterprise Inc. a agriculture and land development company located in Haiti to land a contract with the governments/USAID in charge. Particularly for the sole purpose of developing the landscape, removing all he concrete rubble from the destroyed building and erecting a Recycling plant. Also We have been in negoitating with a Concrete Manufacturer Named Lafarge in Georgia concerning sending 25 -50 concrete mixer trucks to Haiti for rebuilding efforts. We would like to impliment ASLA into our project scope.

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