25 December 2020

Protecting Haiti's biodiversity

Forests are not just about trees. Their rich vegetation diversity and food resources are found to attract a high diversity of endemic, rare, threatened, and endangered wildlife species (i.e., such as mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians). that are responsible for most of the pollination and seed dispersal as well as a major contributors to the decomposition and nutrient cycle in a forests.

Unfortunately, the loss of our forests from human activities is a major threat to biodiversity. The FAO defines primary forest as “naturally regenerated forest of native species, where there are no clearly visible indications of human activities and the ecological processes are not significantly disturbed." Haiti now has less than 1% of it's primary forests and is therefore among the most deforested countries in the world. If we continue at the current rate, Haiti will lose essentially all of its primary forest during the next two decades and is already undergoing a mass extinction of its biodiversity because of deforestation.

Secondary forests like our food forest however, will likely play a growing role in the conservation of forest biodiversity by providing lifelines for some species if protected and allowed to flourish. Research and our personal experience indicate that they may mitigate extinction caused by declining areas of old-growth habitat and will likely play a growing role in the conservation of our biodiversity.

Since we’ve started growing our food forests and protecting these spaces from negative human interferences, we’ve found dozens of amphibians, birds, insects and mammals have taken up residence within the forest. You can increase the diversity of wildlife in your forest by providing habitat features such as piles of rocks, decaying logs, ponds, bat houses, or even just growing more flowers will greatly make a forest more inviting and hospitable to all life around you. From our personal experience though, nothing beats simply allowing nature the time to regenerate itself.