Helping Families Grow Trees and Shade Crops
Countrywide, Haiti is 98% deforested– a critical challenge for a nation that must rely on wood and charcoal for its major source of fuel. Massive deforestation causes soil erosion, increases the risk of mudslides during the rainy season, and leads to increased pressure on wildlife and ecosystems.
By design, the HAS campus is home to many trees. Strategic planting of large hardwood species helps the local watershed system, improves soil, and encourages a rich ecosystem.
HAS serves a large and widely dispersed community– including small communities in the hills and mountains of the Lower Artibonite Valley, far from the flat fields and irrigation canals that make this area the “rice basket” of Haiti. For subsistence farmers who live and work in the mountains, an eroded hillside or washed-away crops are a devastating blow. In order to collaborate with and aid the many families and communities located near denuded hillsides, HAS operates an agroforestry program. This integrated program helps community members grow seedlings, plant trees, and bolster the ecosystem as an investment in the soil and in the economic security of program participants. Our staff works hand-in-hand with individual communities that have demonstrated a commitment to investing in the care and propagation of seedlings that can take years to mature. Community members receive specialized training on agroforestry and the growing of shade crops, skills that will benefit them long after the initial program has ended.