Havana, Dec. 31. -Protecting the biodiversity of Cuba''s mountains occupies is a priority for environmental experts, as those sites now represent 21 percent of the country''s territory.
Cuba's mountains, primarily the medium and lower ones, are considered by experts to be some of the most important centers of evolution, dispersal and endemism in the Antilles islands.
In protecting these areas, factors taken into account are the fragility of their ecosystems, their biodiversity, and the role they play in water production.
According to scientists, the decrease in vegetation and inappropriate practices in land use and watershed management are posing problems for the conservation of the Cuban mountains.
Other factors are the impact of building and infrastructure construction, and the exploitation of mineral resources, primarily in the open-pit mining.
The four mountain ranges of Cuba are the Guaniguanico Mountains in the west of the country; Guamuhaya, in the center, and the Sierra Maestra and Nipe-Sagua-Baracoa in the east.
Turquino Peak, at 1,974 meters above sea level, is the highest point in the country. (Prensa Latina)