Summary: The international foundation “Wildlife Without Borders” filed a complaint against illegal tree removal in the Dominican Republic. The culprits, it would seem, are groups of Haitians who use this wood to make charcoal. A large quantity of these trees were taken from the Montecristi National Park, which is conveniently located on the border of Haiti. The president of the Wildlife Without Borders Foundation, Cruz Estevez, urges those who have the authority to take action to prevent the destruction of these forests to do so as quickly as possible. No military or environmental agency has gotten involved in this issue yet, despite the fact that at least 22,170 tons have been smuggled thus far.
Response: This article coincided very conveniently with a discussion I had in another class concerning Haiti. Charcoal production drives their economy, and has done so for decades. Virtually all trees on Haiti’s side of the island of Hispaniola have been sawn down and converted into this exportable commodity. Besides being a completely unsustainable way to support an economy (combining with natural disaster and poor leadership to create a dead economy) it has led to the destruction of their natural environment. So much in fact that they have been forced to resort to illegally harvesting trees from their neighbor, the Dominican Republic. Its bad enough that Haiti has destroyed it’s own natural resources. I believe it is incredibly unlikely that Haiti’s government will do anything to prevent their own citizens from plundering another country’s resources, so the only protection will come from the Dominican Republic’s government. I am eager to hear the outcome of this story, hopefully it will be addressed soon.