This study examines the complex factors and causes of Haiti’s ecological demise, identifying the tipping points which led to its early environmental challenges, its eventual isolation, economic stagnation and decline within the exclusionary global economic system of mercantilism, all resulting in, and reinforced by, a complex western ideological bias defined as ‘Haitiism’. The literature review examines the historical trends of colonized and independent Haiti under the notional concepts of victim blaming theory, political ecology, ecological economics, and cumulative causation theory. These notions are applied as lenses of inquiry firstly to absolve Haiti of full blame for its environmental distress, and to identify and provide clarification on the adverse historical events that lead to its current state of poverty. In responding to ecological pressures, this research applies an intervention strategy that (1) examines the practicability of rebuilding soil horizons on Haiti’s eroded parent soils, using blends of biochar and compost to create Anthroposols by the process of restorative anthropedogenesis; (2) develop a closed loop cycle between pyrogenic carbon and farm soils, and; (3) investigate how an integrated food- energy system could impact Haiti’s biogeochemical cycles to restore ecological interactions and ecosystem services. The mixed methods research and analysis applied in this inquiry incorporates both quantitative and qualitative measures of assessment to improve upon the understanding of the relationship between Haiti’s soil biogeochemistry and the resuscitation of ecosystems services which are pivotal for livelihoods development at the household level.
This dissertation develops a political ecology of suburban peasants to describe the lives of Haitian farmers residing in a neighborhood on the margins of Port-au-Prince. The category of suburban peasants has been well described for Chinese small-scale farmers but has yet to be applied elsewhere as an analytic category.