Terrain shapes and bedrock
Haiti is very mountainous. About two-fifths of the area
exceeds 500 m above sea level. The Massif du Nord mountain
range, which follows the northern coast, has an average
height of 1,220 m above sea level. To the south, the La
Selle mountain range has the highest peak in the country, 2
674 m above sea level, and the La Hotte Mountains (Massif de
la Hotte) further west reach 2,347 m above sea level. The
mountain ranges in the north and south mean that Haiti has
two projecting peninsula far to the west. These enclose the
wide and deeply penetrating Gulf of Gonāve as well as the
island of the same name.
In the bay's extension to the east, the earthquake-struck
rift valley Cul-de-Sac, which continues into the Dominican
Republic, spreads. At its eastern end lies the salt lake
Étang Saumātre. Haiti's main river, Artibonite, drains the
middle parts of the country and has its outflow in the Gulf
The bedrock consists mainly of rocks from chalk, tertiary
COUNTRYAAH, Haiti's tropical climate is affected by the country's
topography and its proximity to the sea. The average
temperature for the year varies between 21 and 32 °C. Due
to the wind, the coastal areas are cooler than the inland,
where the temperature can vary from 38 °C in the valleys
down to the freezing point in the mountain areas. Parts of
Haiti are in the rain shadow and the amount of precipitation
here amounts to 500 mm per year, while the higher parts get
2,500 mm. The rain falls during two rainy periods, December
– April in the north and May – November in the south.
Temporary tropical storms occur between August and November.
The vegetation is similar to that in Cuba and the
Dominican Republic, but forests are now found only locally
on precipitous mountain slopes. The lowland is largely
cultivated, and the inner highlands are covered by sparse
dry forest or savanna with, among other things, palm trees
and some pine trees. The flora is relatively rich (about
5,000 species of vascular plants).
Wildlife has always been relatively poor due to
Hispaniola's isolated location, but it has recently been
depleted in pace with deforestation. In addition to bats
(many species) and rodents, there is only one native mammal
species, Haiti's snail mite (Soleʹnodon
paradoʹxus), which is endemic to Hispaniola. It is a 30
cm long (plus 20 cm tail) night-active animal in the group
of insect eaters, which is now threatened with extinction
due to biotope destruction and stray dogs.
Over 200 bird species are known from Haiti, including
parrots and hummingbirds; hispaniola amazon (Amaʹzona
ventraʹlis), two species of todier and hispaniolatrogon
(Temnotroʹgon roseigaʹster) are among the species
endemic to Hispaniola and surrounding small islands. The
amphibian fauna and fauna are represented by a number of
groups including. lace crocodile (Crocodyʹlus acuʹtus),
about 25 species of frogs and toads, about 40 species of
lizards, i.a. iguanas, as well as about 15 species of worms.
In the coastal sea around Haiti there are about 270
species of fish and a richly lower wildlife.
There are three major nature protected areas in Haiti.
Two of these are classified as national parks, Pic Macaya
(55 km2) and La Visite (20 km2).