Buenas Prácticas (Haití)

Protection of micro-watersheds of Michino, South-East region, Haiti


Background

In a century, due to deforestation, the native tree cover has changed from 60% to just over 1% of the territory. This deforestation is explained by a process of historical logging (sugar industry) and energy demand of the poor, especially for burning wood and making charcoal for their domestic needs. This has also affected the few remaining coastal mangroves. Technical studies have estimated that 70% of the country’s energy consumption comes from woody sources. However, there is a growing presence of forestry products, mainly mangoes and avocados for export.

In any case, the devastation of the forest cover has been dramatic, involving the upper part of the basins, in a mountainous country with steep slopes. This has caused degradation of waterways, with the result that the water drains downstream without encountering obstacles to its progress, dragging not only soils but also silting of river beds and pushing the rock material to the agricultural valleys and villages. The result is that the channels are filled with limestone, rainwater thus overflows, destroying the banks and everything placed there, in particular crops, housing and infrastructure.

Micro-watersheds are the base of support for poor farmers in the countryside, not only for the production of their livelihoods, but also for domestic uses (drinking, washing, treating waste, recreation), in a context of greatest lack of health infrastructure. The processes of deforestation have severely damaged these micro-watersheds, often as a result of the degradation of large rivers. Hence the need to implement projects such as one documented, which is one of the hundreds that are being developed in Haiti.

Objectives:

  • Restoration of the micro-watersheds of Fond Melon in the river Gosseline, damaged due to deforestation and flooding
  • Rational and sustainable use of soils
  • Support for the vulnerable economies of the producers who make use of these micro-watersheds

Limitations:

  • Structural uncertainty
  • Shortage of capital
  • Impoverishment of farms
  • Lack of incentive measures for the establishment of forested areas
  • Uncontrolled livestock
  • Weak presence of the state of Haiti in rural areas

Action plan:

  • Raising awareness of communities about the causes and consequences of degradation of the micro-watersheds.
  • Negotiation with communities to ensure their voluntary participation in the project.
  • Selection of the entrepreneurs who are willing to provide reforestation plots.
  • Development of a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between the public, international cooperation and the beneficiaries of the reforestation plots.

Achieved and Expected results:

  • 630 farmers have received the first delivery of this grant for the creation of the reforestation plots.
  • Creation of reforestation plots over 65 hectares of degraded land with forest trees (cedars, oaks, acajús and eucalyptus) and fruit trees (avocados, mangoes and citrus).
  • The grant received per year per hectare of reforested plots is larger (Gdes 7.100) than the 4.780 Gdes taken on average of crops in greenhouses installed on degraded land.
  • Source of wealth creation from the trees: the expected values per hectare in 10 years are estimated at 635,196.00 gourdes.
  • Over a period of 10 years, the 630 beneficiaries of the program, will receive a total grant of 4, 615,000.00 gourdes and from the sale of trees, they can generate an income of 41, 285,014.00 gourdes.

Lessons learned:

  • Need to strengthen the involvement of farmers in defining the means of constituting the reforestation plots.
  • Need to negotiate with those responsible for income-generating activities that must be implemented.
  • Need for involvement of representatives of the Haitian state in the entire process until the signature of the protocol, to ensure the sustainability and perpetuation of reforestation plots.
  • Need to strengthen the willingness of farmers to the creation of the reforestation plots through a clear negotiation as well as the existence of subsidies and support for income generating activities to allow them take up the weight of their short-term requirements.

Sources : Alezi (2011), ECLAC (2011a), Agronomes et Vétérinaires sans Frontières (2006)

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