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8 May 2024

Haiti Battles Rising Tree Cover Loss and Recent Fire Incidents in Artibonite Department
Haiti Battles Rising Tree Cover Loss and Recent Fire Incidents in Artibonite Department

A series of fire incidents have been reported in the Artibonite Department of Haiti, signaling a continued threat to the country's natural resources. On May 8, 2024, four separate incidents were recorded, adding to the already critical situation of tree cover loss that Haiti has faced over the years.

Haiti, with an area of approximately 2.71 million hectares, has a tree cover extent of around 858,466 hectares. However, the country has experienced a significant decline in tree cover due to various factors. Over the past two decades, shifting agriculture has been the predominant driver of tree cover loss, accounting for a substantial portion of the deforestation. Urbanization, though less significant, has also contributed to the decline.

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The data reveals a disturbing trend of tree cover loss, with the highest recorded in 2016, where over 17,267 hectares were lost. This loss has had a profound impact on the country's carbon emissions, with millions of metric tons of CO2 equivalent released into the atmosphere as a result.

The net change in tree cover shows a loss of 17,274 hectares against a gain of 13,832 hectares, leading to a net loss of 3,441 hectares. This represents a 0.29% decrease in tree cover, which is a cause for concern given the country's already vulnerable environmental state.

The recent fire incidents in the Artibonite Department underscore the ongoing challenges Haiti faces in preserving its forests. The loss of tree cover not only affects carbon emissions but also has broader implications for biodiversity, soil erosion, and the well-being of local communities.

As Haiti confronts these environmental hurdles, the focus on sustainable land management and conservation efforts becomes increasingly critical. The data serves as a call to action for strategies that can mitigate tree cover loss and address the underlying causes of environmental degradation.

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