Biodiversity Hotspots: Caribbean Islands

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The Caribbean islands are known for its exotic, hot climate and vegetation. They are made up of different islands: the Bahamas, the Lesser Antilles (such as St. Martin, Curacao and Aruba), Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The variety and large range of ecosystems found in the Caribbean islands are the main reason why they were chosen as a biodiversity hotspot, together with its range of species. The Caribbean islands support many diverse ecosystems from which some are montane cloud forests and cactus scrublands. However many of these ecosystems have been harmed by human impacts such as deforestation and encroachment . Montane cloud forests are described as an uncommon type of evergreen mountain forest, this can be found in tropical places where clouds and mists are created by the area’s climatic circumstances. On the contrary, cactus scrublands can be found in dryer locations, this means it can be found in places such as forests and open spaces and its dominant plants are either cacti or scrubs. Cactus scrublands can be found in some of the islands in the Caribbean, such as Puerto Rico and Jamaica, where savannah, cactus shrub and spiny shrub can be found. More humid and wet environments are found in montane cloud forests, elfin woodlands, and marsh forests; these environments are found where trade winds occur (this would be in high Caribbean mountains). In areas such as lagoons and rivers, one may find permanent dark water swamps that lead to extensive mangrove forests; these are the moister areas of the Caribbean. The different ecosystems offered by the Caribbean are also found in their sea, a large amount of coral reefs can be found in the beautiful Caribbean sea, these are however a very fragile ecosystem. They cover about 50,000 km2 of the Caribbean Sea; they are very fragile because when its waters exceed the temperature of 29
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