The Trinidad and Tobago dry forests cover a small portion of northwest Trinidad and the far northern end of the island of Tobago as well as some of the smaller offshore islands. However, this ecoregion comprises only about 5% of the island nation.
Trinidad and Tobago Dry Forests
The Trinidad and Tobago dry forests cover a small portion of northwest Trinidad, the far northern end of the island of Tobago, and some of the smaller offshore islands. However, this ecoregion comprises only about 5% of the island nation.
The two islands in the South American Continental Shelf in the Caribbean Sea are the most southerly of the Lesser Antilles chain. Subsequently, both islands lie in close proximity to the South American mainland.
The island of Trinidad is separated from the South American mainland by approximately 12 km (7.5 mi), while the island of Tobago lies another 30 km (19 mi) to the northeast.
Trinidad's principal forest types are tropical and semi-deciduous rainforest, coastal woodland, deciduous seasonal woodland, and swamp/mangrove forests.
Due to a lack of canopy, the Trinidad and Tobago dry forest ecoregion is much more open than the Trinidad and Tobago moist forest ecoregion. Consequently, there is a more significant proportion of deciduous trees and fewer large trees. In addition, mosses and epiphytes are not common owing to the significantly reduced rainfall.
Flora and Fauna
Prominent trees in this area include Lonchocarpus punctatus, a small, fast-growing evergreen tree that can reach a height of approximately 18 m (60 ft); Bursera simaruba, a small to medium-sized tree growing up to 30 m (100 ft), in addition to Machaerium robinifolium and Pithecellobium unguiscati.
Cactus species and the century plant (Agave evadens) are common along the coast.
A small portion of this ecoregion also is found on the northern tip of Tobago. The canopy is about 15 m, and dominant trees include Bursera simaruba, Lonchocarpus domingensis, and Coccothrinax australis.
Though many dominant species are deciduous, the understory is mostly evergreen, with Eugenia spp. and Mayepea caribaea prominent.
Map depicting the location of the Trinidad and Tobago dry forests (in red)