Reforesting Haiti, Together
Haiti has struggled with environmental degradation for years. According to the UN, Haiti is the most severely degraded country in the Western Hemisphere — once plush mountainsides are now barren and devoid of trees as desertification kicks in. This has not always been the case though — as recently as fifty years ago, Haiti's forests were thriving and trees covered 60 percent of the country. Today, less than one percent of Haiti remains forested.
It's through years and years of rapid tree-cutting for lumber and fuel that a dangerous cycle of degradation has been created – leaving Haitian countrysides severely depleted.
Reforestation is vital to Haiti's future. Trees create natural barriers to flood waters. They provide soil with important nutrients and act as natural protectors of local water sources. With no trees or firm soil, overflowing waters rush forth carrying everything in its wake when storms and hurricanes hit — which destroys rural communities and agricultural land. The top soil and vital nutrients for crops are washed away and the remaining trees struggle to survive. Soil erosion and deforestation have been attributed as primary causes of the intense flooding that resulted from the 2004 and 2008 hurricanes, which devastated countless communities. Rural communities have suffered loss of life, damage to crops, tools and homes because of flooding.
In addition to preventing damage from flooding, trees are essential for agricultural production. Trees reduce soil erosion, help the soil to retain water, and enrich nutrients in the soil. Fruit-bearing trees are also an important food source in Haiti.
Click here to read more reforestation statistics.
Tree planting is a critical element in addressing climate change as well. Of the three main types of carbon offsets, reforestation is the only one that actually removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and puts it somewhere else — into the mass of a live, growing forest. Also, scientists know that deforestation is responsible for about 25% of climate change, making reforestation a vital part of reducing emissions while providing time to transition to a clean energy economy.
Tree by Tree
To lessen the devastating effects of deforestation in Haiti, the Lambi Fund of Haiti is planting one million trees in Haiti, raising awareness about the root causes of deforestation, and educating communities throughout rural Haiti about ways to address these problems.
Seedlings, training on agroforestry techniques and necessary tools are provided to our partner organizations so that they can plant thousands of trees. Through local partnerships, Lambi Fund is helping communities mobilize and is supporting the replanting of entire countrysides in Haiti.
Every organization that the Lambi Fund partners with includes a reforestation component in their projects.
There are two levels of reforestation:
1.) Small-scale reforestation projects that are a subset of a larger sustainable development project. These projects are planting between 10,000 and 60,000 trees in rural communities. For instance:
• The Association for the Protection of the Environment of Gwomon (APEG) received a grant for a goat breeding project as well as supplies and training to plant 20,000 tree seedlings.
• The Peasants Organization for Development in Ennery (OPDE) are building new irrigation pumps for their farmers and are planting 20,000 seedlings.
Each and every Lambi Fund partner organization receives training and funding to manage a community nursery and to plant thousands of seedlings in their region.
2.) Large scale environmental projects whose main focus is reforestation. These projects plant over 100,000 trees.
• The Association of Bwa Bene 4th section of Veret is planting over 120,000 saplings in two years in eight communities. They will plant 30,000 seedlings every six months at three sites throughout Haiti.
• PEDISEG, a federation of 56 grassroots organizations with over 4,200 members — near Gwomon is planting 180,000 fruit and forest trees to reforest badly eroded hillsides.
Women and the Environment
Women continue to play an important role in restoring Haiti's environment and agroforestry. In rural communities throughout Haiti, women are organizing and working to plant thousands of trees as they lead the way in the grassroots reforestation initiative. In Lambi Fund tree nurseries, they play a major role in managing and caring for the successful upbringing of tree saplings. Women are also teaching community members and children the importance of replanting trees and the restoration of local environments.
By supporting the efforts of these community-led organizations, Lambi Fund is making strides to restore Haiti's forests. This will bring long-term sustainable growth to Haiti and allow its citizens to better protect themselves and their communities from flooding, enrich the environments they live in and move one step closer towards food security.
See the Changes Take Root
Watch Lambi Fund's reforestation video to learn even more about grassroots reforestation efforts in Haiti.
Do Good, Be Green
The movement to reforest and restore Haiti's environment requires mobilizing entire communities and long-term partnerships. Help provide continued support for Lambi Fund's reforestation programs by planting a tree in Haiti and offset your carbon footprint while you're at it! Use the carbon calculator to determine how many trees you should plant. You can choose to plant a sapling or an entire grove of trees in Haiti.
Be the Change
Want to make even more of an impact? Join the Movement and ignite the spark for change in your very own community!