Mighty Mangroves of Southern Haiti
Success stories abound in Haiti. That they’re not easily seen shows just how far this star-crossed country still has to go. For every MUPANAH, there’s a Hurricane Matthew; for every Marriott, another messy transfer of power. On the one hand, this is pretty sad. On the other, though, it makes you appreciate Haiti’s successes all the more. Winning here is not like winning most anywhere else. It takes a lot of extra effort; an unbreakable will born of the type of strength most of us will never know anything about. The kind of strength displayed by these mangroves of Southern Haiti.
I spied these stalwart shore protectors while boating across La Baie de Petit Goave. They came as a bit of a surprise considering all that I’d read about widespread mangrove depletion in Haiti.
It’s true that improperly disposed of garbage, especially plastic bags, is choking out mangroves all over the world. The problem is exacerbated in Haiti by the persistent need for charcoal.
An absence of mangroves means increased shore erosion, no natural buffer against storm surge, and less fish to catch in shallow waters closer to shore. Retreating fish also impact reef health, leaving shores further exposed to storms.
It’s a serious global problem; one with which Haiti is most certainly grappling. No doubt mangrove restoration still has a long way to go here. Still, at least in the case of these mangroves of Southern Haiti, the country seems to be winning a little, which, of course, means an awful lot.