Sunday, January 29, 2012

It once was a rainforest

These are largest trees I’ve seen in Haiti.

If you know what these are please leave a comment. The banyan tree (strangler fig) comes to mind for the one with all the roots hanging down, but I don't know what it is. The other was called a pistach tree, pistach is Creole for peanut. I assume trees like this grow in the national forests on the south peninsula. It’s sad to think they used to cover the country and now 99% of Haiti looks like this:

The book Collapse has a chapter about how the colonial history of Haiti lead to deforestation. According to it and other sources, the French brought slaves and left with timber, leaving Haiti largely deforested before it became independent.

1 comment:

  1. You are right that it is a banyan (fig). It is impossible to tell from a picture which species it is: it could be Ficus citrifolia or Ficus aurea (both native to the Caribbean) or it could be any number of related Ficus species (native OR introduced).

    The other one is trickier. If they call it the peanut tree, is it a legume (in the family Fabaceae)? There are several trees in that family in the Caribbean, but I don't really know them.