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Reforestation Efforts in Haiti
A recent article from Newsweek highlights the challenges and opportunities Haitians face in basing their recovery and development on decentralized forest management.
Six months after the earthquake which leveled Port-au-Prince, and after decades of rampant deforestation coupled with increased energy use and population growth, civil society organizations and the United Nations are focusing on the transformative power of planting trees. As Helen Clark, U.N. Development Group chair, notes, “planting trees is not just some quaint side project. It’s the key to rebuilding the country.” More than 600,000 Haitians have left Port-au-Prince since the earthquake for work and shelter in the countryside, and will likely deforest the last remaining 330 square miles of forest in the country in favor of subsistence farms and charcoal production.
Past development projects in Haiti have concentrated on urban areas, but the shift in focus to sustainably growing and managing rural forest will have a widespread impact. Ethan Budiansky, the Caribbean-programs officer at Trees for the Future, explains that “almost all of the country’s problems—natural disasters, food shortages, poverty—can be traced back to rampant deforestation.” New plans call for employing thousands of Haitians in manner which will improve livelihoods and mitigate the effects of a centuries-long trend in deforestation.
Posted By Douglas Bojack at 5:39pm on July 28, 2010
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