Hispaniolan Pine Forests Ecoregion (Caribbean)
The Hispaniolan pine forests are found on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles. This ecoregion is today mainly in mountainous areas of the Cordillera Central and the Sierra de Bahoruco, as well as other small patches in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Hispaniolan Pine Forests
The Hispaniolan pine forests are found on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles. The ecoregion is primarily located in the central Dominican mountain range and continues onto the northern massif of Haiti.
The Hispaniolan pine forests ecoregion is located on slopes with shallow soils at the higher elevations of the mountain systems.
Originally, these forests occupied about 15% of the vegetation on the island and were located primarily on the low montane, from 850 to 2,200 m (2,800 to 7,200 ft) and the montane from 2,100 to 3,175 m (6,900 to 10,400 ft) in elevation.
This ecoregion is today mainly in both countries' mountainous areas of the Cordillera Central and the Sierra de Bahoruco and other small patches. This includes several locations on the La Selle and La Hotte massifs and the Tiburón peninsula in Haiti.
The other ecoregions on the island of Hispaniola include:
Flora and Fauna
The pine forests of Hispaniola contain various endemic species of plants and animals, including numerous specialist species in limestone and serpentine soils, among the ecoregions listed in the Global 200 that have been assigned the highest conservation priority.
The region's natural vegetation consists primarily of pino criollo (Pinus occidentalis) stands. Pines are mixed with other conifers, including Sabina (Juniperus gracilior) and Podocarpus aristulatus (syn. P. buchii).
Below 2,100 m (6,900 ft), pine forests are found on lateritic soils and interspersed with wet montane forest areas.
Important broad-leaved species include Garrya fadyenii and Vaccinium cubense near Constanza and the Sierra de Bahoruco, Rapanea ferruginea near Jarabacoa and San José de las Matas, and Buddleja domingensis along the Cordillera Central.
Plants of the montane steppe (2,100 - 3,175 m or 6,900 - 10,400 ft) include cara de hombre (Lyonia spp.), abey (Cojoba arborea), yaya fina (Oxandra lanceolata), pajón (Danthonia domingensis), Verbena officinalis var. officinalis and Weinmannia pinnata.
The land fauna of this ecoregion is diverse, with numerous species in danger of becoming extinct. Various insects and other invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and mammals are endemic to the island. The most notable endemic mammal of Hispaniola is the Hispaniolan Hutia (Plagiodontia aedium).
The avifauna of Hispaniola Island is very distinct; it has six endemic genera, including Calyptophilus, Dulus, Nesoctites, Phaenicophilus, Xenoligea, and Microligea.
The conservation status of these forests is vulnerable due to the limited original habitat that remains and threats due to grazing, the gathering of firewood, fires set by man and other factors. It is estimated that more than half of the original habitat of this ecoregion has been lost.
Map depicting the location of the Hispaniolan pine forests (in purple)