Planting Project: Haiti
Deforestation in Haiti is not something that can be ignored. If tree loss continues at its current rate, there will be no forests remaining by 2038. And with 100% of forests gone, that means countless species and plant and animal life will also disappear—forever. Many of the species facing extinction are endemic to Haiti, which means they aren’t found anywhere else on the planet.
2006 reports even found that Haiti has less than 2% tree coverage.
This means 98% of Haiti's forests are gone.
Furthermore, the United Nations estimates that each year, 30% of remaining trees are removed. At the current rate, it will not take long at all for the remaining forests to diminish completely.
In addition to natural disasters, the main cause of deforestation in Haiti is charcoal production. Used to make this fuel, trees are cut down and consumed. In addition to a loss of trees, this also leads to a loss of nutrients in the soil and causes degradation that makes the land effectively barren and infertile.
Native forests also provide protection against severe environmental cycles. As more and more Mangrove trees are removed, there is less and less of a barrier to protect the country against harmful environmental change.
This ongoing destruction of Haiti’s natural ecosystem has led to crop failures, mass soil erosion, flooding, and issues with the natural water cycle.
8 Billion Trees is currently partnered with Eden Reforestation to carry out our tree planting project in Haiti. One of the major ways we are making a difference is through focusing on mangrove restoration along the coastline of Haiti.
Sharing a symbiotic (mutually-beneficial) relationship with coral reefs, mangrove trees help to bring restoration to aquatic species while also benefiting from the diverse ecosystem creates by those species. It is a vicious positive cycle that helps the environment in countless ways.
Mangrove trees are incredible for several reasons:
- They stabilize coastlines
- They improve water quality
- They serve as a habitat for fish and other species
But restoring Haiti will require more than just a focus on mangrove trees. Realizing this, we also support Eden Reforestation to carry out “singling”.
This is a process where excess branches and leaves are removed from Bayawonn trees so that they can continue to grow over many years instead of simply developing into mostly useless shrubs. The branches removed are then used for various tree products or fuel—nothing is wasted.
By focusing on mangrove trees and Bayawonn trees we can have a two-pronged approach:
- Planting new trees to restore the environment
- Restoring old trees and breathing new life into them so that they can once again contribute positively to the environment
One thing remains clear: planting trees in Haiti is a necessity, not an option.