Science News: New private nature reserve in Haiti

– G.A., Senior Editor

The Republic of Haiti, located in the Caribbean Sea, is one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. In addition to economic hardship, Haiti’s population has struggled due to natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. In addition to the damage caused by natural disasters, Haiti’s rapidly growing population is putting pressure on biodiversity in the nation through deforestation and agricultural activities.

There is an awareness of the threat to biodiversity and efforts have been made to protect vulnerable areas. In 2015, the government of Haiti established the Grand Bois National Park; however, the cash-strapped government was unable to allocate adequate funds to protect the 1,200-acre park and the land remained privately owned.

At the beginning of 2019, purchase of the land was completed thanks to private funds from the Global Wildlife Conservation and Rainforest Trust non-profit organizations. This new Grand Bois Nature Reserve is the first private nature reserve in Haiti and its management by the government will be supported through additional funds from the supporting non-profit organizations. The creation of Grand Bois Nature Reserve demonstrates that even underdeveloped nations can protect vulnerable environmental areas with adequate financial assistance.

This nature reserve is not only important to Haiti. The area is considered one of the most important amphibian habitats in the world and invaluable knowledge can be gained from research conducted here that may help slow the decline in amphibian populations around the world.

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