A widely cited report from 1979 suggested that existing wood supplies in Haiti would be enough to meet increasing charcoal demand until around the year 2000, but that ongoing charcoal production could result in an environmental apocalypse (Voltaire 1979, 21, 23). The prediction that wood supplies in Haiti would be exhausted by 2000 was also supported by a report on trends emerging from early remote sensing analyses of aerial photographs spanning from 1956 to 1978, for three different locations in Haiti (Cohen 1984, v‚iiv). And yet, some 40 years later, Haitians continue to produce large quantities of charcoal despite these dire predictions to the contrary.
Conventional charcoal and firewood are the main source of energy in Haiti. They provide up to 90% of the country's energy for domestic and industrial use, resulting in severe environmental and health issues. The present study is initiated to better understand the reasons why two promising alternative technologies (improved cookstoves and alternative charcoal briquettes) have experienced low adoption in Haiti. The research was carried out in two districts in southern Haiti where the improved stoves and briquettes production units exist and where households benefited from a program distributing the improved stoves.