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[Response] Haiti’s biodiversity threatened by nearly complete loss of primary forest

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Discussion of forest definitions and tree cover estimates for Haiti


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Discussion of forest definitions and tree cover estimates for Haiti, in Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences.

Below is a link and an excerpt from our published letter addressing the misguided assumptions in the article by Hedges et al. 2018, entitled “Haiti’s biodiversity threatened by nearly complete loss of primary forest”. Both the article and our response (and their counter-response) are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS):

“In PNAS, Hedges et al. estimate that only 0.32% of “primary forest” cover of Haiti remains. They argue the situation is dire and predict that Haiti will have no remaining primary forest by 2035. We highlight several assumptions in their forest definition parameters and subsequent national extrapolation that result in subjective and potentially biased results—a phenomenon that the authors paradoxically note is common in forest cover estimates.”

We conclude that:

“We share the concerns of Hedges et al. for protecting the remaining forests in Haiti; however, the bar that their article sets may prevent Haitian policymakers, donors, technical experts, and others from recognizing historically documented forests and seeking innovative solutions to restore degraded secondary forests and promote reforestation.”

Read the letter, article, and responses here:
-Peter J. Wampler, Andrew Tarter, Rob Bailis, Klas Sander, and Wanxiao Sun. Discussion of forest definitions and tree cover estimates for Haiti. Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences. March 15, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1901163116
https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/03/13/1901163116

Here’s a link to new national research on charcoal production and consumption in Haiti.

Key Words: Haiti tree-cover tree cover forest primary forest FAO Haiti deforestation biodiversity 2018 2019

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