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Canary Islands

The .ic domain extension does not exist as a TLD. The government of Canary Islands was considering it as its official country code top lovel domain, but there are no news if they are successful in seeking approval.

The Canary Islands consists of seven islands, and is subdivided into 2 provinces, being one of the autonomous communities that make up Spain. In the archipelago as a whole, approximately 2,200,000 people live in an area of 7,500 square kilometers, the most populated island of Gran Canaria, followed by Tenerife. Some of the most important signs of identity and for which the Canary Islands are known throughout the world are its carnivals and its always pleasant weather in all seasons.

The Canaries are the largest and most easterly of the the Macaronesian archipelagos. Close to Africa, they are generally much warmer and drier. The easterly, low-lying islands such as Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are extremely arid and dominated by immense coastal dunes, wetlands and, inland, pre-desert scrub and heath. The more westerly islands are home to deep gorges and steep mountain peaks, with frequent temperature inversions. The dramatic climate and landscape create a wide range of habitats: the desert-like landscapes of the shore are in walking distance of the moist cloud forests of the mountains.

The climate is generally mild and healthful. The average temperature for the year is about 65, while the maximum and minimum are about 80 and 52 respectively. Precipitation is very scant and occurs mainly in winter; droughts are frequent. The hot east and southeast winds blowing from Africa dry up the vegetation. There are several zones of vegetation depending on the altitude, but in general the west slopes furnish a more abundant vegetation than those on the east.

The vegetation of the lowest zone, extending up to 1200 and 1300 feet, is more or less African, and includes the date palm, sugar cane, the dragon's-blood tree, etc. In the second zone, between 1200 and 2800 feet, the flora resembles that of southern Europe and comprises the vine, the olive, the orange, and several kinds of European grain. In the third zone the vegetation is confined mostly to trees and includes the Pinus canariensis, evergreens, a few other conifers, and retama {Cytisus rubigenus), a fragrant broom. The native fauna offers little variety, and most of the animals have been imported either from Europe or Africa. The two easternmost islands, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, possess a richer vegetation and are better wooded than the others.

The Canaries host unique forests habitats. Its Canarian pine forests provide a last refuge for the native, and globally threatened, blue chaffinch (Fringilla teydea). Other typical habitats include Macaronesian heaths, Canarian cushion heaths, olive woodlands, ancient juniper forests and the unique lava fields surrounding the 3718-meter-high El Teide volcano on Tenerife. This wide variety of habitats is home to the richest biodiversity of the region, and one of the richest in the world. Over 14 000 species have been identified so far and new discoveries are still being made. Around 45 % of the fauna and 25 % of the flora species are endemic. Of the 670 plants native to the Canaries, 66 are listed in the Habitats Directive.

Tourism is the most important economic activity. Mixed and terraced farming are still practiced inland but rapidly disappear, replaced by the tropical and forced crops for the export market which now account for 75 % of the agricultural end production. 18 000 ha of highly fragmented laurel forest remain. Only 6000 ha correspond to mature forest.

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