Haiti is 70% deforested. What was one a lush Caribbean nation filled with leafy green trees is turning into a desert.
The following image speaks 1,000 words on the issue:
On the left we see Haiti. On the right - the Dominican Republic. There are only a handful of trees on the Haitian side, however just across the border we see a richly forested area.
There are several reasons for which Haiti is now at a mere 30% capacity of forested land. In order to really understand, however, we must take a look at Haiti's history.
Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492... he came across what is now North America. But on December 2nd of the same year he also discovered Haiti - then called the island of "Hispaniola".
Quite the same treatment that was brought to the Native Americans was also brought to the Native Caribbeans. Disease, slavery, and overall extortion were among the unfortunate realities to then-Hispaniola.
Fast forward the next 250 years - Haiti is used for cash crop production (mainly sugarcane for the European's tea), utilizing their fertile tropical lands. Of course, requiring the clearing of trees for farming!
Another 50 years go by and coffee is a main export out of the land. Coffee production meant upland portions of land had to be cleared - thus came the slashing and burning of many trees in the higher altitudes.
Throughout this multiple century process, the Europeans weren't only farming crops - they were farming every resource possible to bring back to their respective countries. The environmental impact was not considered. This largely contributes to the type of deforestation you see in the above image.
Native people to Hispaniola were used for cheap labor. And those that lived separate from European employment had to turn to farming to feed their own families. The land granted to the peasants were the hillsides slopes. Thus the 200m-600m altitude were slashed and burned in this process.
The vast majority of Haitians worked in agriculture.
BUT, fast forward to about 1923, in the past 94 years we see 30% of the trees in Haiti get knocked down.
The reason behind this, experts say, is the nation's reliance on charcoal for energy.
As a nation that utilizes charcoal for 60% of their energy production and a population that is growing extremely fast, trees are continually cut down today. There are impoverished individuals who must cut down trees in order to sell the charcoal yield to feed their children. Crazy conditions right?
So why are things in Haiti so "uniquely horrible" nowadays? Some say it is their lack of God, others say it is the government, others say such is due to the inferiority of the Haitian race. If you ask me, I say it is a combination of centuries of unfortunate events. The Haitian people are victims of terrible circumstances.
A nation continually troubled by hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and many other supernatural events, Haiti is a land that needs attention and help.
This is why Treecup will plant 1 tree for every 1 tea sold. Although this takes up much of our businesses profit margin, it is not ourselves who we are called to help. We must help the poor and needy. Period.
To watch videos about Haitian deforestation go to the "media" tab at the top of this website.