Private Haitian reserve created amid forest crisis


View of Grand Bois Mountain. (Photo by Sarah Hanson)

The creation of a private reserve within a national park might normally be grounds for suspicion, given the potential for conflict between private and public interests. Haiti, though, is a particular case. There is virtually no law enforcement in its national parks. And the country, whose primary forest covers just 1% of the area it once did, is in the midst of what experts describe as a mass extinction, with plant and animal species rapidly disappearing as a result of relentless land clearing. So the news that several non-governmental groups teamed up to buy 500 hectares (1,200 acres) of land within Grand Bois National Park and on Jan. 18 announced the establishment of Haiti’s first private reserve has produced a rare sense of triumph. “This is one of the most biologically rich places I’ve seen in more than 30 years working around the Caribbean,” says Blair Hedges, director of... [Log in to read more]

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