Seed Cultivation and Preservation May Help Undo Haiti’s Infamous Deforestation
Haiti’s deforestation has had a profound impact not only on the country’s landscape but also on Haitians’ daily lives. Now, agronomists are planting the seeds for a more forested – and fruitful – future.
CAMP-PERRIN, HAITI — As much of the southern United States recovers from the destruction brought on by last month’s Hurricane Michael, farmers and scientists throughout Haiti are still working to recover plant life and forest destroyed by a different hurricane – Hurricane Matthew – in 2016.
With their heads down and eyes fixed on granules of soil, a group of agronomists in Camp-Perrin, an area in the country’s Grand Sud region, is working to bring their germplasm-center project to fruition. The project, they hope, will help restore local forests.
Bernadin Jean Bosco, an agronomist and head of the germplasm center, says this project is the government’s greatest gift to Grand Sud. Germplasm refers to seeds that are maintained for the purpose of fostering plant reproduction and preservation, and the centers are home to millions of seeds that Jean Bosco says will help reforest his country.
The center extends over 14 hectares (34.6 acres) and boasts eight shade houses, each more than 250 square meters (2,700 square feet) in size. Inside, more than 4.5 million seedlings are growing. From pomegranate to oranges to breadfruit, the center is working to bring agriculture back to the region. And, most importantly, Jean Bosco says, they are working to regrow dozens of species of trees, including acacia, moringa, coconut, coffee and lemon trees.