The nation of Haiti comprises one third of the island of Hispaniola and borders the Dominican Republic. Part of the West Indies archipelago, Haiti means "land of mountains" and five mountain ranges span the country, creating a jagged shoreline of natural harbours and offshore islands.
Located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, Haiti's tropical climate is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes and seasonal storms. Environmental damage has had such an impact that even the coral reefs surrounding the island are under serious threat.
High-altitude pine forests and inaccessible mangrove swamps are almost all that are left of Haiti's once-abundant forests. Deforestation has left large areas of loose topsoil bare and dwindling water resources place an additional stress on the growing population.