Actively planting since 2002, in 2009 over 1 million trees were planted in Haiti with communities along the Arcadine coast. Another 1 million trees were planting in 2012, working with over 1,600 farmers.
Tree planting in Haiti is a fundamental part of this restoration and ForestNation is concentrating its efforts in the planting of trees to provide fruit, animal foder, construction materials and sustainable fuel wood for the local populations. The trees are integrated into the local agriculture and gardening systems.
Our tree planting partners have been planting trees throughout Haiti since early 2002, working on community-led projects which are designed to address the communities’ most urgent needs. In 2008, they helped over 200 farmers plant approximately 250,000 forest and fruit trees in Leogane.
Planting in Haiti takes place during the rainy season which tends to be in April/May and again in September/October. A wide selection of trees are planned to be planted including Moringa oliefera, Jatropha curcas and Leuceana spp. All of the tree seeds are purchased locally in Haiti, so they are best adapted to the local environment and we are supporting their operations.
About 50% of the species are native and 50% non-native, but still found locally. We collaborate with experts in agroforestry and agronomy living and working in Haiti to determine what species are best to use. It is then up to the local communities needs and desires as to what trees they grow and plant.
In general, the trees selected protect against further erosions, rejuvenate the degraded soil, improve the water table, provide a sustainable source of fuel wood, provide animal fodder, provide food (fruit and leaves), and are a source of oil.
The leaves from the moringa tree are very beneficial for both humans and livestock, but at the moment the majority of the moringa is being planted for human consumption to help combat malnutrition. Many other species such as Leucaena, Acacia and Gliricidia are also being planted and they can be utilized for livestock. Farmers really like Moringa as they love the taste from frying the leaves and adding it to traditional dishes. They also recognise the nutritional benefits from the leaves.
Fruit and timber trees are planted as a necessity, but they are only part of a much bigger system as they are all slow growing and will not show many benefits (fruit, timber) for at least 3-5 years. These trees do not address serious and immediate issues such as fuel wood for cooking, soil poverty, and a dropping water table. Farmers like to plant trees which are fast growing, and very beneficial for rejuvenating the degraded soils by nitrogen fixation and providing numerous other quicker benefits such as fuel wood, construction materials, leaves for food and fodder, and oil etc.
Farmers select the tree species they want to grow and plant, they own the trees and they are responsible for caring for them. Prior to even starting a tree nursery, we conduct a needs assessment with the community or individual farmer to determine what species they would like to use and how best to plant them.
Jatropha has been planted primarily throughout Africa as live fencing around fields and compounds for hundreds of years and with a lot of success. It is only recently that it has been found that the seeds also produce an oil for biodiesel. Jatropha is not used for animal fodder as animals do not like the taste of the leaves and therefore they do not eat young seedlings, making it perfect for fencing.
Leuacaena is very beneficial to protect against soil erosion and inundation from flooding. Leucaena is fast growing and nitrogen fixing and regenerates depleted soils. When planted with agriculture and garden crops, it increases their yield and can also be a sustainable source of fuelwood, construction material and animal fodder.
Moringa and Leucaena have significant benefits, but are only 2 of the large diversity of species which are incorporated in projects which includes many native species, as well as slower growing fruit trees and timber species. But in the end it is the local farmers that choose which trees they want and need to plant, and we simply help them to have this opportunity.