Jared Diamond article that covers same subject as his book, “Collapse,” which compares Haiti with the DR, two countries that share one island. Diamond examines why the Haitian side has undergone much heavier forest spoliation than the Dominican side. Fascinating analysis.
“Haiti had a population seven times higher than its neighbor during colonial times — and it still has a somewhat larger population today, about ten million versus 8.8 million.
Haiti’s poverty forced its people to remain dependent on forest-derived charcoal from fuel, thereby accelerating the destruction of its last remaining forests.
But Haiti’s area is only slightly more than half of that of the Dominican Republic. As a result, Haiti, with a larger population and smaller area, has double the Republic’s population density.
The combination of that higher population density and lower rainfall was the main factor behind the more rapid deforestation and loss of soil fertility on the Haitian side.”