Haiti - Forestry

Originally, Haiti was endowed with abundant forest resources. Excellent stands of pine were located in the mountain rain forests of La Hotte Massif and in the Massif du Nord. (Haitian pine is high in turpentine and rosin content, making it suitable for naval stores.) Major stands of mahogany grew in the Fer à Cheval region, and small stands occurred in the island's lower mountain ranges. Tropical oak, cedar, rosewood, and taverneaux also were widespread; hardwoods included lavan (mahogany), narra, tindalo, and ipil. The intensive use of the forests for fuel, both in colonial times and in the modern era, and the clearing of woodlands for agriculture resulted in a decline of Haiti's forestland from over 2.7 million hectares (6.7 million acres) before the coming of Columbus to about 88,000 hectares (217,000 acres) by 2000, the majority of which was privately owned. Such deforestation has created a problem with soil erosion. Reforestation efforts have been more ambitious in design than successful in execution. Haiti had an annual average deforestation rate of 5.7% during 1990–2000, the highest in the world. Of the estimated 2,203,000 cu m (77,766,000 cu ft) of wood cut in 2000, almost 89% was used for fuel.

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