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June 20, 2019. Life / Islands

Caribbean Islands

Nicholas D. Holmes, Olivier Langrand, Russell A. Mittermeier, Anthony B. Rylands, Thomas Brooks, Dena R. Spatz, James C. Russell, Wes Sechrest, Federico Mendez Sanchez

Collectively, the Caribbean islands have a land area of 230,000 km2, with Cuba being the largest with over 105,800 km2.

The Caribbean islands are broadly divided into three groups. First, the Greater Antilles, containing the largest islands—Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola (divided between the Dominican Republic and Haiti)—along with the Cayman Islands.

Second, the Lesser Antilles, with an outer chain of low coral and limestone Leeward Islands and an inner chain of very steep, volcanically active Windward Islands.

Third is the Bahama Bank assemblage —the archipelagos of the Bahamas— and Turks and Caicos, southeast of Florida.

Most Caribbean Islands have never been connected to continental landmasses, enabling species to evolve in isolation. The Caribbean Islands are also critically vulnerable to climate change, including an increasing frequency of major hurricanes.

 

This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Nature Series Book “Islands” (2018)

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