Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Chapter 14: The Cuban context for agriculture and innovation
Cuba is an archipelago located in the Caribbean Sea, with a total area of 110 860 km2, making it the seventeenth largest island in the world by land area. The main island of Cuba constitutes most of the nation’s land area. Terrain is mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the south-east. The lowest point is at sea level and the highest point is Pico Turquino at 1974 m, which is part of the Sierra Maestra mountain range, located in the south-east of the island. According to the modified Köppen classification, the predominant climate of Cuba is mild-hot tropical with a rainy summer season. It has a high maritime influence. The country has an annual average rainfall of 1200 mm, with around 30 per cent of the precipitation in the winter period (November to April) and the remaining 70 per cent in the summer (May to October); in general rains are more abundant in the occident of the country than in the east. The average temperature is 23°C in January and 27°C in July. Cuba lies in the path of hurricanes, which are most common in September and October. During recent years, extreme weather conditions, as a consequence of global climate change, have been more common in Cuba. These changes involve longer drought periods, higher frequency of hurricanes and flooding and elevation of sea levels with associated saline intrusions. Cuba has approximately 11.2 million inhabitants, with 101 inhabitants per km2.
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