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Jamaica, one of the Greater Antilles, is located in the Caribbean Sea. It covers a total area of 10 990 km2. It is an island with more than half the land over 20 degrees of slope. The Blue Mountains dominate the eastern end, rising sharply from sea level to their highest point at 2 256 m on Blue Mountain Peak. The Blue Mountains are mostly made up of metamorphic rocks with long steep slopes and soils liable to rapid surface erosion.

In contrast, the major part of the central and western area of the island is made up of a hard white limestone of rugged karst topography, with an altitude generally below 1 000 meters. The Cockpit country in the west (named for the many deep depressions) has very broken karst topography with elevations generally over 1 200 m. A major feature in the central area is an elevated area of schist. Again, the slopes are very steep with soils liable to rapid surface erosion. Plains of alluvium and raised coral reefs, with good access, occur in various places along the coast.

The island has a number of excellent natural harbors, including those at Kingston, Saint Ann's Bay, Montego Bay, and Port Maria.

Jamaica falls within the "tropical region" of the Holdridge Life Zone classification. All land above 380 m is classified as being in the pre-mountain elevation belt of the tropical region. The hot, humid climate is moderated by ocean winds.

Temperatures average 24° C in the winter and 27° C in the summer, although temperatures in the mountains can drop to 4° C. There are two rainy seasons, May through June and September through November. The rainiest months are May and October. The yearly rainfall varies from about 760 mm along the coast to about 5 100 mm in the mountains. The country is subject to hurricanes in late summer and early autumn.

The above information has been obtained from FAOForestry whom we acknowledge with gratitude.

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