The Dominican Republic is in the Caribbean — one half of Isla La Hispaniola, along with Haiti. The Dominican Republic Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Environment can inform us of some of the environmental challenges Dominicana faces, such as increasing deforestation and soil erosion (15% of the country’s soil is overused). Many of these issues are shared with their immediate neighbor, Haiti, which is significantly more deforested. Nathan C. McClintock points out (PDF) that “soil erosion and deforestation are endemic in Haiti due to centuries of agricultural exploitation, first under the colonial plantation system — intensive monocropping… and later by the widespread harvest of timber for export markets.” It seems that, now that most of Haiti’s resources have been depleted, deforestation is becoming a serious problem in the Dominican Republic as well, and for similar issues.
Check out the following video for a creative, permaculture solution for the region’s depleted and deforested soils, with footage from Taino Farm, a “permaculture, agro-tourism and alternative education site” that, while seemingly mostly white operated and owned, does some soil restoration work and bed-making in the Dominican Republic that is worth noting. I wasn’t able to find much more on permaculture (at least by that name) in the region.
For a glimpse into the lives of Haitian and Dominican farming communities that grow bananas mainly for European export in a small scale, take a look at this video:
After thinking about how both the Dominican Republic, and mostly Haiti, has been assailed with natural disasters and poverty, and how the island’s history is tied to that of violent colonialism, it is somewhat dispiriting to see that impoverished Haitians and Dominicans have to turn to banana farming, a product which is not only grown as a monocrop (and probably contributes to soil erosion), but is eventually also exported! I hope to one day read about local permaculture and sustainable enterprises (not saying that there aren’t any — I just couldn’t find them) that are owned, operated and benefit locals and only locals. Culturally appropriate and de-colonized permaculture is important and imperative.
- Compost Toilets in Haiti
- Permaculture Around Latin America – Urban Agriculture in Haiti
- Capitalising on Haiti Tragedy?
- Orchestrating Famine – a Must-Read Backgrounder on the Food Crisis
- SOIL Wins Land for Life Award for Composting Toilet Aid Work in Haiti