Written by Serina Bernardo
In observance of Arbor Day this past April 28th, we celebrated nature and recognized the need to plant more trees. Haiti was once covered in lush forests, but now the country is facing mass deforestation. The deforestation in Haiti originates from French colonialism. For hundreds of years, the French government cleared Haiti’s beautiful forests to make room for plantations (Saint, 2022). Haiti still has not fully recovered from the devastating effects of colonialism. Currently, a large contributor to deforestation is the high demand for charcoal and fuelwood. Fuelwood and charcoal are the main sources of energy in Haiti, with over 80% of energy being generated from burning charcoal (Saint, 2022). Many Haitians’ income comes from cutting down trees and producing charcoal. With many people’s livelihoods depending on cutting down trees, deforestation in Haiti is a complex issue. To tackle deforestation, considering the needs of local residents is a requirement.
Deforestation has disastrous effects on the environment in Haiti. Deforestation greatly expedites global warming. Since trees are responsible for taking up carbon dioxide from the environment, without trees carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Trees also play an important role in buffering extreme events like landslides, floods, and storms. For example, during times of heavy storms, trees soak up the rain to help prevent flooding. Flooding in Haiti leads to decreased crop yield and as a result, food insecurity. Deforestation also contributes to the severity of earthquakes in Haiti. Without tree roots to soak up excess water and prevent soil erosion, landslides are more common, which increases the vulnerability of the people who are already hurt by the earthquake (Saint, 2022).
The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) is collaborating with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 100,000 trees in Haiti, Senegal, and Mali by Thanksgiving. These trees will help in providing work for the Haitian people, food for families, a better living environment and clean water, climate control, and support to combat soil erosion caused by storms. Our founder, Marie Thadal made a personal donation to NCNW to support this mission that is close to her heart. Donate today and be a part of helping Haiti regain their beautiful forests!
Saint, E. (2022). The struggle to conserve threatened forests in Haiti. Earth.Org. https://earth.org/conserve-forests-in-haiti/