Farewell to Haiti’s mountaintops

Cloud forest on Deux Mamelles, Haiti. (Angela268/Wikimedia Commons)
Cloud forest on Deux Mamelles, Haiti. (Angela268/Wikimedia Commons)

The future of Haiti’s old-growth forests is dire, according to a recent study.

Between 1988 and 2016, 42 of the 50 highest mountains in the country lost all of their old growth.

Overall, ancient forests dropped from 4.4 percent to just 0.32 percent of Haiti’s total land area.

Several of these forests were in national parks, and within 20 years, if current trends continue, all of Haiti’s ancient forest will be gone.

Isolated mountaintop forests typically contain critical endangered, and irreplaceable, biodiversity.

The authors of the study, which focused on reptiles and amphibians, found that a mass extinction of these is already occurring, including species that are likely to have disappeared before even being named and cataloged by scientists.

The main culprit in the poorest Western Hemisphere country is charcoal gathering, the primary energy source for Haiti’s 11 million people.

Source: Temple University

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