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#740: Lanavaz : Barnes adds

From: J Barnes <jbarnes@massed.net>

Erik Ekman was a Swedish naturalist who was interested in documenting 
tropical flora and fauna. He died at the age of 47 having spent 17 years in
Cuba and probably 2 years in Haiti.  He apparently did a lot of work in
these types of isolated places, trying to identify species of plants and
animals not yet documented by other scientist.  The group from the
University of Florida that wrote "The Natural History of Southern Haiti"
(mostly documenting what lives and used to live in the Haitian tropical
forest at Macaya National Park)  got most of their base data from Ekman's
research.  I guess his research would probably be the only source to let us
know that there has been change in Lanavaz's environment.  I don't think he
did ocean research.  The web sites previously cited in postings have a few
interesting links.  One of them is a Swedish Library which has some stuff in
English including an Ekman biography.  There is also a link to a photo essay
which is quite interesting because it show you that one of the reasons why
the place has not been colonized is that the shore is a tall cliff.  The
fisherman who want to get on land have to use rope ladder at the lowest
point to try to get on.  Apparently current researchers already know that a
couple of lizard species have disappeared.  Most of the ecological damage to
the island has been done by the USA government.  In the 1800 they exploited
guano there, which meant that they scared up dirt mixed with bird poop to
use as fertilizer.  The US erected the lighthouse and a home for a
lighthouse staff during the first world war and actively used the place
during the 2 world wars.  One of my uncles from Jeremie who was a fisherman
used to go there in his travels.  I think I can remember stories from him
saying that there had been some wild goats there and that after the second
world war there was a lot of military debris making the island a dangerous
place.  Haitian fisherman have always gone there from the areas at the tip
of the Southern Peninsula to fish.  The fishing equipment of Haitian
fisherman is very low tech and does not do one hundredth of the damage that
high tech fishing causes.