Hispaniola in the Caribbean

Wednesday, 10 July 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

Haiti - Jacmel Seaside © Port-au-princien/cc-by-sa-3.0

Haiti – Jacmel Seaside © Port-au-princien/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hispaniola is an island in the Caribbean island group known as the Greater Antilles. It is the second largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba, and the most populous island in the Caribbean; it is also the eleventh most populous island in the world.

The 76,192-square-kilometre (29,418 sq mi) island is divided between two separate, sovereign nations: the Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic (48,445 km², 18,705 sq mi) to the east, and French / French Creole-speaking Haiti (27,750 km², 10,710 sq mi) to the west. The only other shared island in the Caribbean is Saint Martin, which is shared between France (Saint-Martin) and the Netherlands (Sint Maarten). Hispaniola is the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, founded by Christopher Columbus on his voyages in 1492 and 1493.

DR - Casa de Campo Marina in La Romana © panoramio.com - Максим Улитин/cc-by-3.0 DR - Constanza Valley © flickr.com - Angel Ramos G/cc-by-2.0 DR - Mangroves in Los Haitises National Park © Anton Bielousov/cc-by-sa-3.0 DR - National Palace in Santo Domingo © flickr.com - Jean-Marc Astesana/cc-by-sa-2.0 DR - Punta Cana © flickr.com - Allen McGregor/cc-by-2.0 DR - Punta Cana © Ila Mae Thie/cc-by-sa-4.0 Haiti - Cathedral of Cap-Haitien © Rémi Kaupp/cc-by-sa-3.0 Haiti - Citadelle Laferrière in Milot © SPC Gibran Torres - United States Army Haiti - Jacmel Seaside © Port-au-princien/cc-by-sa-3.0 Haiti - Labadee, seen from 'Freedom of the Seas' © flickr.com - Brian Holland/cc-by-2.0 Haiti - Market in Cap-Haitien © Doron/cc-by-sa-3.0 Haiti - Sans-Souci Palace in Milot © Rémi Kaupp/cc-by-sa-3.0
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DR - Casa de Campo Marina in La Romana © panoramio.com - Максим Улитин/cc-by-3.0
There are many bird species in Hispaniola (The Birds of Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and the island’s amphibian species are also diverse. Numerous land species on the island are endangered and could become extinct. There are many species endemic to the island including insects and other invertebrates, reptiles, and mammals. The most famous endemic mammal on the island is the Hispaniola Hutia (Plagiodontia aedium). There are also many avian species on the island. The six endemic genera are Calyptophilus, Dulus, Nesoctites, Phaenicophilus, Xenoligea and Microligea. More than half of the original ecoregion has been lost to habitat destruction impacting the local fauna.

The island has four distinct ecoregions (Environment of Haiti). The Hispaniolan moist forests ecoregion covers approximately 50% of the island, especially the northern and eastern portions, predominantly in the lowlands but extending up to 2,100 meters (6,900 ft) elevation. The Hispaniolan dry forests ecoregion occupies approximately 20% of the island, lying in the rain shadow of the mountains in the southern and western portion of the island and in the Cibao valley in the center-north of the island. The Hispaniolan pine forests occupy the mountainous 15% of the island, above 850 metres (2,790 ft) elevation. The flooded grasslands and savannas ecoregion in the south central region of the island surrounds a chain of lakes and lagoons in which the most notable include that of Lake Azuei and Trou Caïman in Haiti and the nearby Lake Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic. In Haiti, deforestation has long been cited by scientists as a source of ecological crisis; the timber industry dates back to French colonial rule. Haiti has seen a dramatic reduction of forests due to the excessive and increasing use of charcoal as fuel for cooking. Various media outlets have suggested that the country has just 2% forest cover, but this has not been substantiated by research. Recent in-depth studies of satellite imagery and environmental analysis regarding forest classification conclude that Haiti actually has approximately 30% tree cover; this is, nevertheless, a stark decrease from the country’s 60% forest cover in 1925. The country has been significantly deforested over the last 50 years, resulting in the desertification of portions of the Haitian territory. In the Dominican Republic, the forest cover has increased. In 2003, the Dominican forest cover had been reduced to 32% of the territory, but by 2011, forest cover had increased to nearly 40%. The success of the Dominican forest growth is due to several Dominican government policies and private organizations for the purpose, and a strong educational campaign that has resulted in increased awareness on the Dominican people of the importance of forests for their welfare and in other forms of life on the island.

Read more on Wikivoyage Hispaniola, Wikipedia Hispaniola, Go Dominican Republic, LonelyPlanet.com – Dominican Republic, Wikivoyage Dominican Republic, Wikipedia Dominican Republic, Experience Haiti, LonelyPlanet.com – Haiti, Wikivoyage Haiti and Wikipedia Haiti (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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