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 Gonâve 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 Saumâtre. Haiti’s main river, Artibonite, drains the middle parts of the country and has its outflow in the Gulf of Gonâve.
The bedrock consists mainly of rocks from chalk, tertiary and quaternary.
According to 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.e. 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).