Trinidad and Tobago Moist Forests Ecoregion (Caribbean)
The Trinidad and Tobago moist forests cover most of the land area of Trinidad and Tobago, the most southerly of the Lesser Antilles. However, small portions of the islands around river estuaries and coastal lowlands are mangroves or dry forests. As a result, species diversity is very high.
Trinidad and Tobago Moist Forests
The Trinidad and Tobago moist forests cover most of the area of Trinidad and Tobago. However, small portions of the islands around river estuaries and coastal lowlands are mangroves or dry forests. As a result, species diversity is very high.
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 close to the South American mainland.
The island of Trinidad is separated from the South American mainland by approximately 12 km (7.5 mi). In comparison, the island of Tobago lies another 30 km (19 mi) northeast of the Venezuelan coast. Consequently, they are directly influenced by the Orinoco River outflow to the south and the South Equatorial Current from the southeast.
Trinidad's biota and terrestrial habitats reflect the ecology of equatorial South America. Four major vegetation communities are found here:
- coastal woodland
- deciduous seasonal woodland
- rainforest (mostly)
- swamp forests
Flora and Fauna
Characteristic tree species in the rainforests include crabwood, kapok, and hog plum. In addition, there are numerous lianas (woody vines) and epiphytes (growth on trees) of orchids, bromeliads, and ferns throughout the different tiers of vegetation.
The two islands have a high species-to-area ratio, including approximately 175 families and 2,500 species of plants, 110 of which are believed to be endemic to the island, including numerous palms.
There are over 400 species of birds, most of which are of the Passeriform order and found on Trinidad.
Around 100 species of mammals have been documented, with bats and rodents dominating, but some armadillo, primates, deer, and cat predators as well.
About 85 species of reptiles are reported, including snakes and lizards, with 40 and 25 species, respectively. In addition, there are 30 amphibian species, including the golden tree frog being a notable endemic to Trinidad.
Map depicting the location of the Trinidad and Tobago moist forests (islands in the blue box, lower right)