From February 2010 — when we launched the Timberland agroforestry and tree nursery program, to December 2012, we planted 2.2 million trees in Haiti’s Gonaives region.
Less than 2% of Haiti’s original forests remain due to a long history of unsustainable land use practices and a continuing dependence on tree wood and charcoal for cooking and heating needs. The deforestation causes a decline in soil fertility which results in erosion that leads to extensive flooding and depleted groundwater supplies and food insecurity. Tropical storms and hurricanes have caused major destruction, not only from their winds, but from flood waters that surge down bare hillsides and mountain slopes into villages and towns.
The sustainable agroforestry model that Timberland launched in Haiti in collaboration with its partner, Smallholder Farmers Alliance, is an example of our commitment to Earthkeepers – the philosophy that guides us in everything we do. By building a community-based agroforestry model that includes eight tree nurseries run by volunteer farmers throughout the Gonaives region, Timberland is connecting those farmers with trees, seeds, tools and training. The combination of these elements has resulted in larger crop yields, which means more food to eat, crops to sell and increased income for the farmers and their families. A variety of multi-purpose and fast-growing trees are grown in the Timberland nurseries. In addition to reforestation, these trees provide many other benefits including combating malnutrition; sustainably harvested wood for charcoal production and lumber for construction; re-nourishment of the soil; and much needed shade.
2.2 million may sound like a lot of trees but Haiti needs many more. Want to learn more and help Timberland plant more trees? Watch the featured video below that highlights the model we’ve developed. Then get involved by supporting the Smallholder Farmers Alliance. Join us now. Nature Needs Heroes.
Photographer: Sebastian Petion