Open Source Archives

We strive to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and the implementation of progressive and  participatory research methods, with the goal of generating tangible, durable changes in the way research about Haiti is conceptualized, implemented and applied.


Research Hub & Open Source Archives

EKO HAITI Research Hub is a research and knowledge mobilization platform focused on creative, collaborative and interdisciplinary research and associated research-based learning. We aim to become the intellectual “home” for research about Haiti by creating and providing open access to the largest crowdsourced research archive dedicated to Haiti, by fostering cross-disciplinary research and innovation, and by providing support for progressive research in the form of contextual expertise and training.

“The trees fall from time to time, but the voice of the forest never loses its power. Life begins.”

Jacques Alexis, Les Arbres Musiciens (Paris, 1957)
Haiti is the birthplace of a rich literary heritage that deserves more attention. Haitian authors open a window into this Caribbean nation’s vibrant culture and tumultuous history.

EKO HAITI collections include all works, published and unpublished by Anthropologists Gerald Murray, Glenn Smucker and Timothy Schwartz
Dedicated to the late great, Kreyolicious (Katheline St. Fort), our photographs archives holds a large collection of images dating back to the late 1800's .
40 years of development reports, evaluations and survey databases many of which are not publicly available, are buried in drawers, closets, private libraries of NGOs and government donors.


Oral histories are a powerful tool in developing historical understanding

Oral history offers an alternative to conventional history, filling gaps in traditional research with personal accounts of historically significant events or simply life in a specific place and time. Oral histories do more than provide charming details to dry historical accounts. In fact, oral histories help others recapture lived experiences that are not written down in traditional sources.

> Transcripts archive

" Bwa pi wo di li wè lwen, men grenn pwomennen di li wè pi lwen pase l "

The tallest tree says that it sees far, but the seed that travels says that it sees even further.



As an independent institute, we rely on crowdsourcing and donations to continue expanding the depth and scope of our archives.  Your contribution enable us to provide open access to a vast collection of ethnographic and research material which in turn aims at fostering further research and contribute to a better understanding of the country.

Haiti’s area of forest cover has dropped from 80% to less than 2% since the arrival of foreign influence in 1492. Yet, Haitians remain closely intertwined with the environment, depending on trees for food, shade, building materials, medicine, and protection against hurricanes. Organizations have attempted to reforest Haiti, but 50 years of planting has provided only temporary tree cover. From lack of sustainable outcomes, conservation professionals now acknowledge the
need for cultural knowledge and Haitian input. My research addresses these lacking cultural aspects and focuses on the Pwoblem Pyebwa (Tree
Problem) in rural Haiti. I have conducted qualitative, literature research with Haitian research partners and combined this with knowledge from outsiders. Viewing Haiti as a Coupled Social-Ecological System (as local peoples seem to do) has also allowed me to tease out complex processes that foster a cycle of poverty and environmental degradation, which I have named the Pwoblem Pyebwa Cycle. I have also used knowledge from locals and outsiders to situate this cycle in the historical context through the original Pwoblem Pyebwa Model. Doing so has revealed systemic causes of deforestation in Haiti in the form of Initiating Factors (factors that initiated and continue to impact the Cycle) and Catalyzing Factors (factors that perpetuate and increase the magnitude of this Cycle). Lastly, I studied different types of trees in rural Haiti and the local uses of such trees. I conducted this research with the mindset that local peoples hold the most knowledge about their uses of trees and should be treated as teachers and me a student of Haiti. In order to better understand what information is locally specific and what information pertains to the larger Social‐Ecological
 Systems of Haiti, I conducted interviews, participant observation, and focus groups in three rural regions: Deschapelles, Ti Bwa, and Anse Rouge.

Each region and each village in these regions had its own set of environmental and social characteristics. Despite these differences, certain commonalities remained constant, and I have set up the Pwoblem Pyebwa Model as a tool to understand the culture of trees across regions of Haiti.