By Sydney Mucha, Communications Intern
Even before 2010, Haiti was considered a struggling country. The land was exploited for natural resources, farming took over and what little infrastructure there was had not been kept up to date. Then, the unimaginable happened in 2010; an earthquake struck on January 12th, killing anywhere from 100,000-200,000 people, damaging houses, buildings and the natural habitat.
Now, more than five years after the destruction, Haiti is still trying to rebuild their cities and restore their natural habitats. To help with this process, American Forests has partnered with the Quixote Center in Gros-Morne, Artibonite, Haiti. This grassroots organization focuses on empowering the Haitian people by training them in sustainable agricultural practices in order to gain economic freedoms and to enhance their understanding of the environments around them.
As part of this project and initiative, volunteers are to plant 50,000 trees across 3 acres in the Tet Mon forest to prevent further soil erosion and runoff, which can be a hindrance to farming. At the Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center, local farmers are being taught how to cultivate trees and practice sustainable farming measures such as composting, sustainable harvesting of trees and the use of riparian buffers to prevent soil erosion. This will help the locals learn to care for their surroundings as well as provide a sustainable income.
The group also has a contract with Green Schools, where adult trainings focus on water tables, erosion, soil enhancement and restoration discussions. The school also teaches children how to care and cultivate tress, the benefits of having trees on farms and how to grow and harvest them sustainably in hopes that they will share this information with their parents and remember it once they are older.
With the help of American Forests and the green initiatives set by the Quixote Center, Haiti is on the path of continued forest restoration and sustainable management of its land by the Haitian people.
Sarigianopoulos, Rena. (2015). Haiti still hurting five years after devastating earthquake. Minneapolis KARE News.