Media representations perpetuate stereotyped images of Haiti and Haitians. Such expressions typically emphasize extreme poverty, mismanagement, exploitation, hopelessness, and also environmental degradation. The environmental image of Haiti is that it is massively deforested, and the connection of deforestation to poverty and other problems has been captured in an iconic aerial photograph of the Haitian and Dominican Republic (DR) border.
Forêt des Pins Reserve, a state-owned natural forest in Haiti, has suffered severe degradation due to a land tenure system that does not guarantee security for farmers, illegal harvesting of trees for the production of firewood and charcoal, and an ongoing influx of people with varying backgrounds and different socioeconomic context seeking fertile land.
This dissertation analyzes important changes occurring in a remote Haitian village, which I call Malfini. This case study illustrates current problems facing the Haitian peasantry, focusing on the political relationships that are at the heart of these problems.