The Bahamas   

  Caribbean Pine - a fire climax forest

The Islands of The Bahamas  lie between 20 and 27N latitude and 72 and 79W longitude. Separated from the North American Continent by the Florida Channel and cooled in the summer by the northeast trade winds, The Bahamas enjoys a moderate climate. During the summer, temperatures rarely rise above 90F, while the lowest winter temperatures vary between 40 and 50F. Rainfall ranges between 40-60 inches a year. The Bahamas extends over 100,000 square miles of sea, with slightly less than half lying in the Tropics. The Tropic of Cancer crosses the lower part of Long Island. Contrary to popular belief, The Bahamas is not in the Caribbean, but is in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Bahamas stretch over a distance of some 760 miles from northwest to southeast and includes 30 inhabited islands, 661 cays, and about 2,387 exposed reefs. The total land area is approximately 5,380 square miles, about the size of Wales or two-thirds the size of Massachusetts. The largest island is Andros, with an area of 2,300 square miles and the smallest inhabited island is Spanish Wells, with an area of one-half mile. The highest point is 206-foot high Como Hill on Cat Island. Some of the most beautiful beaches and lagoons in the world are located in The Bahamas.

Over 50 varieties of trees can be found here, including such exotic species as the African tulip, the casuarina, the cork tree, several varieties of palm trees, and about 40 varieties of fruit trees. In addition, large varieties of shrubs, climbers, vines, vegetables, and herbs are found here. There are no significant seasonal changes requiring winter clothing or central heating in the Bahamas. The rainy season is from May to October with an average in Nassau of six inches per month. From November through April, average rainfall is two inches per month. The hurricane season extends from June through November, the greatest risk being in August, September, and October.


Trees of the Bahamas: 

The Ecosystems of Grand Bahama Island: Photos and text contributed by Erika Moultrie, Kayak Nature Tours. 

Ecosystems of The Bahamas: By far the most diverse and interesting group of native trees and plants can be found in our Bahamian forest known as Coppice. Jack Patterson, author of Native Trees of the Bahamas estimates that there are probably 100 species of trees and shrubs per square mile in our Bahamian forest. There are different types of coppice throughout The Bahamas. On the islands where coppice occurs, each forest is slightly different depending on its location, the amount of rainfall and if people have used the area in the past.  The Caribbean Pine (Caribaea vs bahamensis) also known as Yellow Pine. Other flora which can be found in the Bahamian Pine forest are Bletia purpurea, purple-flowered orchids, Andorpogon glomeratus, also known as Bushy Beard Grass, and Pteridium aquilinum, Southern bracken fern