Investigator:

Karen Tuddenham

Advisor: Amity Doolittle

Description:

Historical and contemporary deforestation in Haiti has contributed to a widespread problem of erosion and topsoil loss in the steep topography of the mountain regions. The dramatic elevation changes paired with the extremes of the wet and dry season. In addition to endangering an already vulnerable population with natural disasters like landslides, topsoil loss also indirectly exacerbates malnutrition and other diseases of poverty that are widespread across these regions, as inhabitants find it harder to grow food or harvest tree products for income. Similarly, loss of tree cover contributes to the drying up of already sparse water sources in the dry season, and makes it difficult to raise livestock that need shade to survive in the hot temperatures.

The Haiti Timber Reintroduction Project has worked in the Artibonite Valley of central Haiti since 2006, training farmers in soil conservation and tree cultivation that has resulted in the planting of well over 600,000 trees to date. This study investigates the possibility of using Landsat Satellite imagery to detect land cover change from HTRIP’s reforestation efforts. Though Haiti is famous for its deforestation, relatively little attention has been paid to mapping land cover change through satellite imagery. This study demonstrates both the utility and the limitations of using Landsat imagery to detect land cover change.