Researching the Island's Landscape
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This website is dedicated to Cuba's landscape, its history, and to its people. This research began in 2002 and has continued to present day. Dr. Gebelein has traveled the length of the island over the past several years, investigating land use and land cover change. She has hiked the Sierra Maestra, El Yunque in the East, and dove on the pristine reefs in the far West of Maria La Gorda. She has gathered invaluable data during her travels ranging from the unique vegetation types scattered throughout the island, to noting various geological structures including the unique mojotes in the Valley of Vinales. She has accumulated several thousand beautiful and informative images from her journeys that document significant landscape features, and also capture some of the beauty of the cities, Cuba's people, cloud forests, seascapes, rocky coastlines, vast open fields, and agriculture. The major thrust of this research is linking physical landscape change with social changes. Both the social and physical landscape are dominated by the evolution of politics, economics, and the impact of laws and reforms on the country's people, agriculture and conservation measures. If you have any comments, questions, or stories of your own travels to Cuba to share with Dr Gebelein, please do not hesitate to contact her at either 305-348-1859 or at


The Cuban Research Institute has funded Dr Gebelein's research and field visits to Cuba. The major focus of that work is land cover change.



Dr Gebelein is an affiliated research Professor in the Department of Earth & Environment at Florida International University. She received her Doctorate from UC Santa Barbara in 2001, in Geography. The focus of Dr Gebelein's work has been land cover/land use mapping in the Caribbean, and change of the Caribbean landscape due to anthropogenic influences.  

More recently Dr. Gebelein's research has focused on long-term changes of the island's landscape dating from historical times to now. The Taino Indians, for example, impacted the landscape in very different ways than the Spaniards. Even though sheer numbers and means are an obvious answer as to how those differences are explained, there are also the cultural reasons for those differences. This is a new focus for Dr. G as a researcher on this topic.