Ecological Regions Of Cuba

Stingray passing through – Stingray City, Grand Cayman
Stingray passing through – Stingray City, Grand Cayman

Ecological Regions Of Cuba

The Republic of Cuba is made up of the Island of Cuba and Isla de la Juventud, and some archipelagos. The country is in the northern part of the Caribbean at the intersection point of the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Cuba is bordered by Haiti, Jamaica, and the State of Florida. The country experiences tropical climate which is moderated by the northeasterly trade wind while the temperatures are influenced by the Caribbean Current accompanied by the warm current from the equator. Cube is home to diverse flora and fauna including 18,000 animal and 10,000 plant species spread through the following ecological regions;

Cuba-Cayman Islands

Cuba-Cayman Islands are part of the British Overseas Territory in the Western Caribbean. The Cayman Islands are made up of three islands including Little Cayman, Grand Cayman, and Cayman Brac. These Islands are found in Cuba, Jamaica, and Panama. Cuba-Cayman Islands form the Western Caribbean Zone. The islands were formed by coral heads which cover the submerged ice. The ecoregion is characterized by tropical a marine climate with rainy summer from May to October and hot winter from November to April. Cuba-Cayman Islands are home to several mammalian species including Central American agouti, several bat species and native rodent species. There are also five endemic species of butterflies while the endangered species within the Cuba-Cayman Islands include blue iguana. The ecoregion region experiences hurricanes due to its tropical location.

Cuban Cactus Scrub

Cuban cactus scrub accounts for about 3% of the Cuba’s original vegetation cover and dispersed in small patches on the shores of the southern part of the island. The ecoregion has a desert like characteristics defined semi-desert with an average annual rainfall of 800 millimeters and an average temperature of 260C. Cuban cactus scrub ecoregion has different plant formations that are adapted to the dry conditions and nutrient poor soil including shrubs and thorny bushes. Also, xerophytic plant and coastal sclerophyllous scrubland with emergent trees dominate this ecoregion. Cuban cactus shrub ecoregion is home to 29 species of reptiles, four of which are strictly endemic. Several insects which are unique to this ecoregion are highly endangered. The major threats faced by this ecoregion include grazing, felling of trees, exploitation of resources due to increase in urbanization, and clearing of land.

Cuban Dry Forests

Cuban dry forests are differentiated into four distinct zones including mogotes, evergreen forest, sclerophyllus forest, and semi-deciduous forest. Mogotes are mountains made up of karstic limestone and are found in the western part of Cuba. The forests are characterized by palm trees, succulents, and lianas while the rock faces contain bushy and shrub trees with adapted roots. The evergreen forest has a variety of tree which grows to different heights. Thorny shrubs and succulent trees are also found in this forest. The semi-deciduous forest also has the evergreen trees, shrubs, and a few herbaceous plants. The trees within the semi-deciduous forest row rapidly because of the heavy rainfall especially during summer. The Sclerophyllus forest characterizes a transition between the xeric scrublands and dry forest. Cuban dry forests are home to several birds’ species including West Indian Woodpecker and green woodpecker while reptiles include Cuban Boas and geckos. Logging of wood and clearing land for settlement are some of the major threats faced by this ecoregion.

Ecological Regions Of Cuba

Ecological Regions of Cuba (as per World Wide Fund for Nature) Biome
Cuba-Cayman Islands Freshwater
Cuban cactus scrub Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
Cuban dry forests Tropical and Subtropical Dry Broadleaf Forests
Cuban moist forests Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests
Cuban pine forests Tropical and Subtropical Coniferous Forests
Cuban wetlands Flooded Grasslands and Savannas
Greater Antilles Marine
Greater Antilles mangroves Mangroves

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