This summer, Dr. Anna Versluis continued to study land change, especially agricultural expansion into former pine forest, in a watershed in southeast Haiti. In a previous study, Anna and a colleague used satellite images to document the region’s transition from a mixed forest and agriculture landscape in the 1970s to a landscape dominated by agriculture today. To complement this land change analysis, Anna is collecting oral histories as narratives to help explain how and, more importantly, why these changes in the land have occurred.
One farmer who was interviewed for the study shows how small her onions are despite using fertilizer.
Walking along maize fields to perform an interview in the study area highlands
Fleurimond, the leader of a local peasant organization, and Anna stop to get a drink on the way to an interview. Because there are few roads in the area, people travel along the dry riverbeds. The riverbeds are dry except when there are flash floods--more severe now due to loss of forest cover. In the background, a fire is set to clear land for planting crops.
This region of Haiti grows excellent potatoes. Here we take a mid-morning break for some hot, salty french fries and fresh Haitian coffee. Who needs McDonald's?