Montrouis / Watershed Agroforestry
“While earthquakes are acts of nature, extreme vulnerability to earthquakes is man made. And the history of Haiti’s vulnerability to natural disasters…to floods and famine and disease, as well as, this terrible earthquake…is long and complex, but the essences of it seems clear.”
International Herald Tribune/01.15.2010
The Arcadins coast lies to the west of a chain of hills…the Chaine Matheux….constitutes the eastern boundary of a coastal zone that includes five watersheds. A watershed is simply a geographic area through which water flows across the land and drains into a common body of water, whether a stream, river, lake or ocean. The quality and quantity of the water flow is affected by all the alterations to the land…….agriculture, roadways, urban development, and the activities of people….within a watershed. All of the five watersheds within the eastern Haitian coast are badly eroded and degraded. Deforestation in Haiti is one of the primary causes, if not the main cause, of unreliable or unsustainable drinking water supply, and loss of valuable agronomic soils due to erosion. The Agro-forest Regional Nursery (ARN Foundation, concentrates upon addressing the root causes of these issues. The Montrouis watershed is one of the five watersheds were the ARN Foundation of Haiti established, in the spring of ’09, a Public-Private Alliance (PPA) within the USAID/DEED watershed program with Development Alternatives (DAI).
“The dominant agricultural practice within the Montrouis watershed is ‘culture sur brulis’ a form of subsistence agriculture that is unsustainable, unproductive, and deleterious for the environment. DEED’s approach, to bring the upper slopes of the watershed under sustainable and productive agriculture, is to offer alternative livelihoods to the farmers now working on these slopes” …DAI/2009.
The present project for the PPA with the ARN Foundation of Haiti, offers full-time paid employment for up to 200 subsistence farmers now working on the upper slopes of the watershed in the Digue Matheux/Montrouis area of the coastal zone. The ARN is creating and managing agro-forest regional nurseries in order to provide valuable agro-forest tree stocks, create new employment opportunities in support of the nurseries, as well as to focus upon the transfer of sustainable environmental practices to Haitian farmers.
To learn more about the many impacts of deforestation in Haiti please click here:
Deforestation in Haiti