Deforestation in Haiti is a severe environmental problem. In 1923, over 60% of Haiti's land was forested; by 2006, less than 2% was. There are several reasons for that.
It started with the independence Haiti won in 1804. For the freedom France demanded a payment of 90 million gold francs (equivalent to some 20 billion dollar today) for lost property. Haiti's trees were felled and exported to France, in order to service the debt.
One of the main problems in more recent times has been logging operations, in response to Port-Au-Prince intensified demand for charcoal. And most people in Haiti still use wood / charcoal for cooking.
A direct effect to this deforestation is soil erosion. Each year some 15,000 acres of soil is washed away. It also damages dams, roads, houses and more.
I have seen all this during my time in Haiti. It is really sad. So I’m really happy to see the nursery tree project at the Star of Hope school in Bois Negresse. The school is preparing coffee and grapefruit plants to distribute to children in the end of school year. This will among other things teach the kids how to guard the trees, which is very important for the future. You can really see on the images that the kids are eager to learn more about tree planting. Great stuff!
Pictures below by Tony Boursiquot, Star of Hope project manager in Haiti.