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Abstract

Sharing the same island, the Dominican Republic and Haiti are confronting similar environmental challenges. Located on the path of tropical storms, Hispaniola Island is frequently exposed to natural disasters like heavy rainfall, flooding and landslides, aggravated by human-induced environmental degradation. At the same time, the differences between the two nations are extreme. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and a well-known case in environmental studies as nearly all of its forests have disappeared. In the Dominican Republic, a middle-income country known for its beaches and tourist resorts, deforestation and soil erosion is also a problem, but to a much lower extent compared to its neighbour state. Above all, the rural economy in both countries is suffering from both sudden disasters and slow-onset environmental degradation. Together with the lack or withdrawal of state support, the incentives for migration as an adaptation strategy are increasing in this panorama of environmental degradation and economic losses. On the basis of field research in selected regions of both countries, this paper analyses the impacts of environmental change on internal and international migration flows on Hispaniola Island.