Magazine article American Forests

Haiti: In Need of Trees

Magazine article American Forests

Haiti: In Need of Trees

Article excerpt

The lack of trees on Haiti's hilltops and valleys contributed greatly to destruction caused by late-May floods, according to the Associated Press.

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AP estimates more than 90 percent of Haiti is deforested; David Adams, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Haiti, told the wire service that "an estimated 10 to 20 million [trees] are cut down each year."

Haitians are members of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and have long used wood supplies to fuel their homes.

But trees help control runoff by soaking water in through their roots and providing sturdy support against erosion. Without trees to slow their progress, the May floodwaters ripped through villages like Mapou and Fond Verettes, causing incalculable damage and claiming the lives of more than 2,600 Haitians and Dominicans who share the tiny island.

For Haiti's poorest communities, the issue surrounding trees has never been one of environmental protection, but rather one of basic survival. …

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