Less than 2% of Haiti’s forest remains

In 2011 we visited a small village in the mountains near Cavaillon, Haiti.

We spoke to the elders and asked them what was the greatest problem facing their community.

They replied:

In just the last 30 years, we’ve cut down almost all our trees. When we were young, we lived in a jungle, a great canopy above us, all kinds of fruits hung high in the trees. Life was easy, blissful. The sounds of birds and trickling water… one never forgets.

Now, without shade, the sun is unbearable. We have to work hard to produce food. When it rains, it rains so hard all the soil rushes down the mountain taking our goats, sheep and the even the banks of the river with it. Our lives have slowly filled with misery.

In the beginning, we had food but not so much cash. If you burned one tree for charcoal, you provided $50 for a family member to go to the hospital, or send a child to school. We thought we had to cut the trees to make our lives better. Now, with little rain or good soil, our crops don’t grow. We have to cut trees just to survive. One grown tree is now worth $200! The demand for charcoal from the city is just too great.

We should have planted more than we cut a long time ago."