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Deforestation in Cuba and Haiti

20.6N 76.1W

January 18th, 2010 Category: Climate Change

Cuba - December 31st, 2009

Cuba - December 31st, 2009

This FAPAR image focuses on the island nation of Cuba in the Caribbean Sea. Once the full image is opened, the country of Haiti can also be see to the right. Cuba’s main island consists mostly of flat to rolling plains apart from the Sierra Maestra mountains in the southeast.

Despite green to dark red areas indicating good to high photosynthetic activity, Cuba’s main environmental problem is deforestation and desertification. According to Cuba’s Environmental Agency and the Agricultural Ministry, approximately 76% of the country’s potential agriculture land has some level of damage: erosion, salinity or compression. The phenomenon’s origin is due to exploitation, deforestation (many forests are cut down in order to use the terrain for agriculture or cattle rearing) and an intense and irrational use of natural resources.

There are signs of deforestation in 11 out of 14 provinces plus the special municipality of the Isle of Youth, reported Cuba’s Environmental Education, Management and Information Center. Also, the five eastern provinces were reported as having the most desertification.

Haiti also has problems with deforestation: in 1925, the country was lush, with 60% of its original forest covering the lands and mountainous regions. Since then, the population has cut down all but an estimated 2% of its original forest cover, and in the process has destroyed fertile farmland soils, contributing to desertification.

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