Haiti


Haiti has pockets of amazing biodiversity given the extent of environmental damage and pressures of burgeoning population. Deforestation and resulting erosion have robbed mountains of topsoil which now chokes reefs and marine life, and pervasive poverty among one of the densest populations in the western hemisphere— 1,753 per square mile (677 per km2)—cripples land reform.

Still, a range of nine life zones, from low desert and mangrove to high cloud forest, supports some 600 fern species, 300 kinds of orchids and most of its neighbor’s birds (which don’t recognize national boundaries) in Haiti’s four national parks that struggle for survival with little money for supervision to prevent poaching by people desperate for food and charcoal.

Virgin cloud forest spectacularly envelops mountains in 19-square-mile (49-km2) Parc Nacional Macaya at the west end of Haiti’s southern claw, traversed by two roads of varying quality: Route 2 through the length of the claw, and 204 through the mountains to Jacmel, which has lodging and information (in the mayor’s office) about park visits. Most of Haiti’s wildlife can be seen along trails with fine views both in Macaya and Parc Nacional Forêt des Pins, east of Jacmel near the DR border. Parc La Visite, northeast of Jacmel, has limestone caves, waterfalls, and cliffs, especially one on the northern park boundary where endangered black-capped petrels nest. Lake Saumatre, 90 minutes east of Port-au-Prince, has more than 100 waterfowl species plus flamingos and American crocodiles, best on the north side, reachable through Thomazeau. Rainy seasons are April–May and September–October. June–September can be unbearably hot.

 Lacy-tailed blue-crowned mot-mots work in pairs to excavate elaborate mudbank tunnel nests without seeming to ruffle a feather of gorgeous plumage. Tunnels up to 14 feet (4.2 m) long with spacious nest chambers 10 × 10 × 14 inches (25 × 25 × 36 cm) are finished in early fall, then abandoned until the pair start spring courtship rituals. Decorative tails are not inborn but plucked out by each bird.

Lacy-tailed blue-crowned mot-mots work in pairs to excavate elaborate mudbank tunnel nests without seeming to ruffle a feather of gorgeous plumage. Tunnels up to 14 feet (4.2 m) long with spacious nest chambers 10 × 10 × 14 inches (25 × 25 × 36 cm) are finished in early fall, then abandoned until the pair start spring courtship rituals. Decorative tails are not inborn but plucked out by each bird.

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HAITI as well as...

Parc Nacional Macaya

Parc Nacional Forêt des Pins

Parc La Visite

Lake Saumatre


More about the Reserves in haiti

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