Soil Conservation & Reforestation

Half of the Haitian population can be categorized as Food Insecure. The primary reason for this is due to the vast deforestation (estimates as high as 98%) and resulting soil erosion that has occurred over much of Haiti. The ongoing Haitian practices of cooking with wood and “burning” mountainside vegetation to clear land for farming further increase the problem. Though much of Haiti receives up to 5’ of annual rainfall, deforestation has resulted in excessive erosion and the inability to retain the rain water where it falls. Lack of water and the poor quality of the remaining soils greatly reduce food production for many of Haiti’s sustenance farmers.

Northern Friends of Haiti (NFoH) is partnering with local village communities and farmers to implement soil conservation and reforestation programs. Residents are paid in Haitian currency and food to work on this three step program during the dry, non-farming periods of the year. This results in providing income and food during these periods while addressing the erosion issues. The program initiatives are simple:

First – Stone “check” dams are being built every 50-150’ in all ravines, retarding water flow during rain events and forcing the water to collect and permeate the ground instead of flowing down the mountain causing erosion.

Second – Terracing is being introduced to further prevent soil erosion on hillsides and retain the rain where it falls so it can permeate the ground.

Third – Mixed crop planting is being introduced to increase food production and allow various crops to replenish soil nutrients depleted by other crops.

As with all other NFoH programs, education is the primary means of assuring these measures become sustainable. The importance of composting, cease burning  and maintain erosion control measures is continually emphasized.

Recent Blog Posts About Soil Conservation Projects