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Dominica

Land and Resources

Boiling Lake, Morne Trois Pitons National Park, plantation agriculture, Boeri, Valley of Desolation

One of the Windward Islands, Dominica is 47 km (29 mi) long and has an area of 750 sq km (289 sq mi). It lies approximately halfway between the islands of Guadeloupe (on the north) and Martinique (on the south).

Dominica is volcanic in origin and has a mountainous terrain. Several peaks rise above 1,220 m (4,000 ft). The mountains are still covered in virgin rain forest, much of which is protected as forest reserves or national parks. However, agricultural expansion and the timber industry threaten much of the country’s rain forest. The island’s highest point is Morne Diablotins (1,447 m/4,747 ft).

Rivers and Lakes

Many rivers plunge down the steep mountainsides, creating many waterfalls. The highest lake is Boeri. Freshwater Lake provides a drinking water reservoir for Roseau, and a hydroelectric project is nearby. In the southern part of the island is Boiling Lake, an intermittently active geyser with a temperature of 92°C (198°C). Sulfurous gases that rise from Boiling Lake have destroyed the trees in a valley beyond, which is known as the Valley of Desolation because of the devastation to its forest.

Climate

The island has a tropical climate with an average annual temperature of about 27°C (about 80°F). The annual rainfall is considerable, ranging from about 1,780 mm (about 70 in) on the coast to more than three times that figure in the mountains. August is the wettest month, and the driest season occurs from February to June. The high annual rainfall contributes to the lushness of the forests.

Dominica is vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms, especially during the late summer months. According to the United Nations (UN) index that compares national income with the cost of damage caused by environmental disasters, Dominica is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.

Natural Resources

Dominica is known as the Nature Island of the Caribbean and is a fine example of what volcanic islands in the east Caribbean looked like before the arrival of Europeans and plantation agriculture. The main resources of the island are timber, water (for hydropower), and fertile soil. Dominica has three national parks. The Morne Trois Pitons National Park was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.



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