Greater Antillean Pine Forests | WWF

Greater Antillean Pine Forests

Pinar del Rio, Cuba.
© WWF / Michel ROGGO

About the Area

This Global ecoregion is made up of 2 terrestrial ecoregions: Hispaniolan pine forests; and Cuban pine forests.

These forests support numerous endemic plant and animal species, including a number of limestone and serpentine soil specialists.

Mild temperatures are the norm on these tropical islands, and rainfall is less predictable - one reason why pine trees dominate this ecoregion as the needles of conifers are ideally suited to cope with variable climatic conditions.

The Hispaniolan Pine Forests ecoregion is found on Pic Macaya in Haiti and on the Cordillera Central, Sierra de Bahoruco, and Sierra de Neiba in the Dominican Republic. The pine forest ecoregion is located mainly in 2 areas of Cuba, one in the east and the other in the west.

The ivory-billed woodpecker, which was once found in the United States, is presumed extinct, but may still be in Cuba and would be found only in the eastern pine forest.

18,000 sq. km (7,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Tropical and Subtropical Coniferous Forests

Geographic Location:
Caribbean: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Greater Antilles Islands

Conservation Status:

Local Species
Four species of pine trees are endemic to Cuba, a fascinating species of tropical pine, Pinus tropicalis, is often found with the unusual bottle palm. The bottle palm, also known as the belly palm, has a trunk that swells outward like a glass bottle. Several species of the colorful Leptothorax ants can be found here in a range of colors: red, yellow, black, and a shocking blue-green.

Just a few of the species characteristic of this ecoregion are the Cuban tody (Todus multicolor), Cuban trogon (Priotelus temnurus), and Hispaniola trogon (Priotelus roseigaster). Reptiles include several iguanid species including Leiocephalus macropus, L.onaneyi, Anolis alayoni and A.vanidicus.

The endemic Hispaniolan emerald hummingbird - locally known as zumbador, which means ‘buzzer’ in Spanish- is found in the Hispaniolan pine forests. The male of this species, which measures about 10 cm in length, is the color of emeralds, with a dark forked tail and a black patch on his chest.
	© WWF / Michel ROGGO
Tropical pine (Pinus tropicalis), Los Indios Ecological Reserve, Isla de la Juventud, Cuba.
© WWF / Michel ROGGO

Featured Species

Cuban trogon (Priotelus temnurus)

The trogons have soft, colorful, feathers with definite male and female plumage. As an adult bird the Trogon stands about 25 – 35 cm tall with short rounded gray wings a short yellow, wide beak, short neck and large eyes that help the bird to find food in the dark woodlands. On its face it has a black mask and a dull colored eye ring, a green chest, head and back. Across its chest it has a white stripe, and its stomach and the bottom of its tail is red. Their long tail is squared at the end. The female's plumage is paler than the male's.

They generally perch stiff and straight on a sycamore tree branch or on some stream side tree. Trogons are birds of the woods, inhabiting areas in the lowlands to the mountain forests. Trogons live in pairs or alone.

The word trogon is Greek for ‘nibbling’ and refers to the fact that these birds gnaw holes in trees to make their nests. They nest in holes in trees or termite nests, laying white or pastel colored eggs. They feed on insects and fruit, and their broad bills and weak legs reflect their diet and arboreal habits. Although their flight is fast, they are reluctant to fly any distance. Trogons do not migrate.

Read more:
Mining, citrus plantations, grazing, uncontrolled burning, exploitation of threatened bird, plant and landsnail populations and logging severely threaten the ecoregion.

Replacing native pine with exotic trees does not often meet the needs of the animals in this habitat. The endemic Hispaniolan parakeet is threatened because it is shot to protect crops and captured to supply the domestic and international pet trade.
WWF’s work
With over 150 forest officers worldwide and more than 300 on-the-ground projects backed up by scientific analysis, and by advocacy work at the policy level, WWF spends in excess of US$ 40 million every year seeking solutions to the problems and threats facing the world's forests.

Four of the Global 200 sites identified by WWF's Conservation Science Team as critical conservation priorities are located in Cuba. Support from WWF is helping Cuban ecologists protect endangered species and important habitats. WWF's current conservation work in Cuba includes a wide range of activities designed to protect the country's rich biodiversity. For example, villagers living near the Zapata wetland are directly benefiting from WWF grants to promote sustainable development in the region. WWF is also providing resources to help local parks staff manage and protect national parks.

Read more:

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