Sunday, December 17, 2006

One of the Differences Between the Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Please make sure you read to the end of this post to discover what the photograph to the right is of.

I haven't written much about Haiti's disastrous environmental situation. Most of Haiti's once lushly forested mountains are now barren. There are many reasons for this, including the sugar plantations that the colonizing French cleared the land for. Currently, Haitians cut down the trees and turn the wood into charcoal for cooking. Although it is mainly poor people who do this, the rich in Haiti help provide a market for the charcoal as some like the way their food tests better when it's cooked over charcoal than when it's prepared by other means.

Besides being an eyesore, the unprotected, deforested land is vulnerable to the tropical storms that regularly lash Haiti during the rainy season. As the water rolls down the mountains, it takes the topsoil with it. This hurts the fertility of the land and also causes horrendous flooding which kills and displaces thousands of people each year.

The picture accompanying this post is a famous one from National Geographic. It was taken over the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. More clearly and starkly than any line on a map, the difference between the mountains of Haiti--the name means high country--and the mountains of the DR indicate the border.

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