Haiti is a mountainous country that was once covered in lush tropical forests and fertile valleys. Since colonization, its forests have been cleared for industry – primarily coffee plantations, timber exports, and charcoal. Over 70% of Haiti’s annual energy comes from wood-based fuels, creating a serious threat to air quality. It is estimated that between 30 and 40 million trees are cut down each year, and approximately 4,000 kilotons of wood is harvested for energy consumption.
Haiti’s unpredictable climate makes it susceptible to drought, flash flooding, and hurricanes. Soil erosion and lack of tree cover exacerbate the impact of these disasters. Deforestation in Haiti is closely linked to the poverty cycle; lack of access to fertile ground has led poorer farmers to cultivate steep, treeless slopes, destroying the topsoil and making it difficult for them to yield crops.