«By ANDREW TARTER A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF ...»
THIRTY YEARS AFTER A TREE-PLANTING PROJECT: A POLITICAL ECOLOGY
PERSPECTIVE ON BEHAVIOR AND LAND CHANGES IN RURAL HAITI
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA2010 1 © 2010 Andrew Tarter 2 To my family, the Tarters, who love Haiti 3
ACKNOWLEDGMENTSAll steps in the course of a lifetime lead to the present moment, and my case is no exception; many people have helped me arrive to where I stand today. I would first like to acknowledge the farmers of Fondeblan (Fond-des-Blancs), for their patience and for the time they provided me to participate in these interviews. They graciously and trustingly welcomed me, providing a unique window into their daily lives. Without them, this research would not be possible, nor would it be meaningful. Special thanks are also due Jean and Joy Thomas, for opening their home to me and insuring my well- being during my stay in Fondeblan.
I also extend my sincere gratitude to the members of my advisory committee: Dr.
Gerald F. Murray, Dr. Michael Bannister, Dr. Willie Baber, and Dr. Peter Collings. The chair of my committee, Dr. Murray, encouraged me to apply to the University of Florida, and made me aware of funding to study Haitian Creole. He then championed my case, helping tremendously in my acceptance to the department of anthropology and my receipt of funding. Furthermore, Dr. Murray has continually provided sage advice and encouragement related to my research and academic ambitions. Finally, none of this research would be possible if Dr. Murray had not designed a tree-planting project that continues to help Haitians to this day. Dr. Bannister has been most helpful on multiple occasions, ranging from providing me with hard-to-find documents, to recommending my research site and facilitating my preliminary contacts there. Dr. Baber helped me to understand much about anthropological theory and methods, and helped inform the structural blueprint for this thesis. Dr. Collings has been particularly resourceful in assisting me to grow as a writer, offering excellent advice and suggestions for improving the clarity and communication of my ideas.
4 Deep gratitude is extended to Haitian Creole professor, Dr. Benjamin Hebblethwaite, who has become a good friend and a constant source of inspiration and encouragement. Dr. Hebblethwaite taught me how to speak Creole, encouraged me to teach Creole, and wrote a grant that contributed immensely to my ability to travel to Haiti and conduct this research. Finally, Dr. Hebblethwaite has graciously acknowledged me as a contributor on several forthcoming publications of which he was the primary architect.
I wish to acknowledge the University of Florida‘s Center for Latin American Studies and the U.S. Department of Education for providing me with two years of funding through the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship to study Haitian Creole. I also wish to thank the University of Florida‘s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for additional funding through their Enhancing the Humanities Grant. This grant, entitled The Haitian Creole Scrabble Project: Expanding the Tools of Literacy in Haiti, was written by Dr. Benjamin Hebblethwaite and provided funding for many of the travel costs associated with my research.
Special thanks are due to the other anthropologists involved in the tree-planting project. Dr. Anthony Balzano conducted research in Fondeblan nearly 25 years prior to my own research, providing rich comparative data. Dr. Balzano also took the time to review this thesis and offered helpful comments and suggestions. Drs. Glenn Smucker and Fredrick Conway, two anthropologists intimately involved in the tree-planting project have also provided helpful documents and suggestions. I am very grateful for their help.
believed in me and encouraged me to follow my dreams. My sister Cindy and my brother Billy are the link to my past and the bridge to my future.
I would like to thank Nicole D‘Errico, John Fort, and Caitlin Robertson for their continued love and support. Nicole D‘Errico was particularly helpful in the statistical analysis of the data presented herein.
My friends and community from Olympia, Washington are not forgotten in the many ways they have helped me to achieve this dream. They are people from a time and place that will always remain close to my heart.
LIST OF FIGURES
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
A Long Personal Journey
A Brief Note on the Recent Earthquake in Haiti
Haiti in 2010
Points of Theoretical Departure
The State of Haiti‘s Ecology
Human Crises Related to Haiti‘s Ecological Devastation
Tree-Planting – A Commonly Proposed Solution
Early Attempts at Examining Human-Nature Interactions
The Neo-evolutionary Approach
Deficiencies in both Neo-evolutionary and Cultural Ecology Approaches........ 27 Ecological Materialism
Murray‘s Theoretical Contribution
Operationalizing Political Ecology as Applied in this Research
Levels of Analysis
Interdisciplinarity of this Research
3 LITERATURE REVIEW
A Brief History of Deforestation in Haiti
Colonial Politics and Policies Leading to Increased Deforestation
Tree-cutting in the Early 20th century
Deforestation in the Last Fifty Years
7 Vulnerabilities Caused By Deforestation
The Role of Trees in the Haitian Peasant Economy
Planks and Poles
A Brief History of Tree-planting Projects in Haiti
Early Tree-planting Projects
Reasons for Previous Project Failures
Pwojè Pyebwa – The Agroforestry Outreach Project and Agroforestry 2......... 63 Critiques of Pwojè Pyebwa
Geography and Demographics
History of Fondeblan
Folk Etymological Origins of the Name Fondeblan/Fond-des-Blancs............... 71 Ecology
Culture and Society
Pwojè Pyebwa in Fondeblan
Summary of Literature Review
Selection of the Research Site
Formulation of the Research Question
Formation of Preliminary Hypotheses
Objectives of Data Collection
The Logic behind Targeting Heads-of-household
Supplementing Primary Interviews
Hiring a Research Assistant
A Typical Day of Interviewing
Transcribing the Interviews
Mining the Data
Analysis of Primary Data
5 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
A Qualitative Assessment of Fondeblan In 2009
What the Data Suggest
The Number of People per household
Participation in Pwojè Pyebwa
Ownership of Multiple Land Parcels
Number of Different Trees on Land
Ownership or Access to Rak Bwa
Revisiting the Research Objectives
Revisiting the Theoretical Orientation of the Thesis
Addressing the Research Objectives
Revisiting the Research Question
Reexamining the Hypotheses in Light of the Data Analysis
Variables of Unexpected Statistical Significance
Assessing Behavior and Land Changes
7 STEPS FORWARD AND FUTURE RESEARCH
Future Tree-planting Projects in Fondeblan
Future Research in Fondeblan
APPENDIX A DEFINITIONS OF VARIABLES
B LOGISTIC REGRESSION AND CHI-SQUARE TESTS
LIST OF REFERENCES
3-1 A traditional twa wòch dife (three rock fire).
3-2 Photos of Pwojè Pyebwa nursery operations in Fondeblan, and a saw mill that came years later.
Photos of ―rak bwa‖ in the hills surrounding Fondeblan.
5-1 5-2 The new and unfinished structure in the marketplace at Fondeblan, pictured on the left in both photos.
5-3 Age distributions in Fondeblan: (1) Actual Age Distribution with Normal Curve from 2009; (2); Categorical Age Distribution, by percentage from 1985; and (3) Categorical Age Distribution, by Percentage from 2009.
5-4 The average number of people per household from: (A) Balzano's sample, 1985; and (B) my sample, 2009
5-5 Different types of houses observed in Fondeblan
Distribution of soil types on farmers‘ land in Fondeblan, by percentage........... 117 5-6 5-7 Number of times 42 different documented tree species were named by heads-of-households in Fondeblan.
5-8 An example of widely observed coppicing neem (Azadirachta indica) trees in Fondeblan
5-9 Number of times 11 different documented animals were named by heads-ofhouseholds in Fondeblan.
5-10 The number of times 16 different documented crops were named by headsof-households in Fondeblan.
5-11 Cedar (Cedrela odorata) volunteers placed in plastic bags for planting, by a farmer in Fondeblan.
5-12 The number of times eight different documented tree uses were named by farmers in Fondeblan.
5-13 Photographs of observed agroforestry practices in Fondeblan
5-14 Farmers' rankings of average annual income derived from animals (A), crops (C), and trees (T).
Chair: Gerald F. Murray Major: Anthropology Haitians continue to experience mutually interacting human and ecological crises related to widespread deforestation. In this thesis, the history of Haiti‘s deforestation is examined using a ‗political ecology‘ approach. Such an approach examines politicallyinduced processes of deforestation at various spatial and temporal scales. The political component of the political ecology approach employed here is expanded to include policies and development projects.
Tree-planting has been seen by both ecologists and anthropologists as one method of simultaneously ameliorating human misery and preventing further ecological damage in Haiti. Most previous large-scale tree-planting projects in Haiti have failed.
One project designed and vetted by cultural anthropologists achieved notable success.
Most evaluations of this project are overarching and broad, and measure success primarily in the number of trees planted or in the number of individuals participating.
Less common are site-specific outcome-evaluations that provide more qualitative assessments of the project, contextualized through time and space.
Therefore, this thesis is a site-specific outcome-evaluation of this earlier treeplanting project, some 30 years after the initial seedlings were delivered. The research
Conclusions are drawn based on qualitative and quantitative data gathered from interviews conducted over two months, during summer 2009. Data were gathered on a series of cultural, socioeconomic, and ecological factors thought to influence continued tree-planting. Preliminary hypotheses were generated based on an extensive literature review and used as points of inquiry. Data were analyzed with SPSS.
The logistic regression indicated four variables of statistical significance correlated with farmers' decisions to plant trees: (1) the number of different tree species already on household land; (2) whether or not farmers participate in agroforestry practices; (3) the number of different types of animals a household keeps; and (4) how trees rank in overall household livelihood strategies. These variables and others are treated in a mixed discussion and analysis format. Preliminary hypotheses are accepted or rejected based on the analysis. Recommendations are made for both further research and future tree project design in Haiti.
This thesis represents the culmination of a long personal journey and the partial fulfillment of a childhood dream. I was born in Haiti in 1978, the year after Dr. Gerald F.
Murray completed his dissertation on Haitian peasant land tenure, and the year before he wrote a report that would become the theoretical backbone of the largest treeplanting project in the history of the country. As the child of development workers in Haiti in the 1970s, I was exposed to many different ideas about the contentious subject of development. My own father‘s maverick thesis was on participatory communication through an audio cassette program that he designed to ―enable the Haitians in the communities served by the project to participate in the planning and execution of community development objectives that would bring them a better quality of life, by their own measure‖ (Tarter 1985:2). I have always been proud of my father‘s modus operandi of replacing the foreigners on his teams—and eventually himself—with Haitians. Yet my father is a rare case, and through scholarship I also became aware of questionable practices and policies in the development world.