Dominica is characterized by very rugged and steep terrain. The northern half is dominated by the cone of its highest mountain, Morne Diablotin (4,747 ft), only five miles from the coast. Four of Dominica's mountains rise over 4,000 feet. A chain of seven other mountains extends from the island's center to the south. The topography is also characterized by a large number of ridges and deep, narrow river valleys. Flatter areas restricted to the coast
al areas of the northeast and center of the island.
Similar to volcanic islands in the Lesser Antillean Archipelago. Volcanic activity is present in regions
of the Valley of Desolation and Boiling Lake, Wotten Waven and the Soufrieres. Coral limestone areas are almost nonexistent and are restricted to small outcrops and uplifted areas on the west coast.
Humid tropical marine. It is characterized by little seasonal variation in temperatures and strong, steady trade winds. The island is among the wettest in the Caribbean. The seasonality of rainfall has lead to two seasons: the dry season and a rainy season, December/January being the driest, June/July the wettest.
National Parks, Forest Reserves and Natural Resource Legislation
As far back as 1975 Dominica established its first national park, Morne Trois Pitons National Park. The park covers nearly 17,000 acres and one of its stated functions is protecting samples of the island's flora and fauna.
In 1952 the island's first forest reserve (the Central Forest Reserve) was established. In 1977 the Northern Forest Reserve (approx. 22,000 acres) was established. Much of the reserve serves a very important protective function for watersheds, plants and animals.
In 1986 the Cabrits National Park was established. The park protects the island's largest tracts of dry coastal forests as well as Dominica's largest wetland containing marsh, freshwater swamp and mangroves.
A variety of minor forest products, now referred to as "non-wood forest products" are currently utilized by Dominicans for a variety of purposes including: handicraft production, basketry, medicinal plants, small industries (e.g., bay-oil industry), spices and food. Some of these products include bamboo, leaves and barks for producing dyes, vines such as Pomme de lyann used in basketry, screw pine, Roseau reed and the Lauouman reed used for making the famous Carib craft items.
Some of Dominica's future plans include: expansion of the island's national park system; undertaking a comprehensive biodiversity; strengthening of the National Parks Section of the Forestry Division; organizing and expanding on local collections of native flora and fauna; strengthening of the Forestry Division's research efforts; review existing forestry, wildlife and national parks legislation; and the introduction of appropriate legislation to deal with concerns pertaining to the country's biodiversity.
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