Tag Archives: national park

Bulgaria – UNESCO – Pirin Mountains

Pirin National Park

Spread over an area of over 27,000 ha, at an altitude between 1008 and 2914 m in the Pirin Mountains, southwest Bulgaria, the site comprises diverse limestone mountain landscapes with glacial lakes, waterfalls, caves and predominantly coniferous forests. It was added to the World Heritage List in 1983. The extension now covers an area of around 40,000 ha in the Pirin Mountains, and overlaps with the Pirin National Park, except for two areas developed for tourism (skiing). The dominant part of the extension is high mountain territory over 2000m in altitude, and covered mostly by alpine meadows, rocky screes and summits.


Brasil – Iguacu National Park

Created by federal decree nr. 1035 of January 10, 1939, the Park comprises a total area of 185,262.5 hectares and a length of about 420km, 300km of which are natural borders by bodies of water and the Brazilian and Argentinean sides together comprise around 225 thousand hectares.
On November 17, 1986, during the UNESCO conference held in Paris, the Iguaçú National Park was listed as Natural Heritage of Humanity and is one of the largest forest preservation areas in South America.

The Iguaçú National Park owes its name to the fact it includes an important area of the Iguaçú river, approximately 50km of the length of the river and the world famous Iguaçú Falls.

It is the most important park of the Prata Basin and, since it is a haven to a significant genetic asset of animal and vegetal species, it was the first park in Brazil to receive a Management Plan.

The Iguaçú National Park is spectacular as well as pioneering. The first proposal for a Brazilian national park aimed at providing a pristine environment to “future generations”, just as “it had been created by God” and endowed with “all possible preservation, from the beautiful to the sublime, from the picturesque to the awesome” and “an unmatched flora” located in the “magnificent Iguaçú waterfalls”. These were the words used by Andre Rebouças, an engineer, in his book “Provinces of Paraná, Railways to Mato Grosso and Bolivia”, which started up the campaign aimed at preserving the Iguaçú Falls way back in 1876, when Yellowstone, the first national park on the planet, was four years old.



Venezuela – UNESCO WHS – La Gran Sabana

Canaima was established as a national park in 1962 and its size was doubled to the present area in 1975. The park is best known for the unique table mountain (tepui ) formations: there are numerous waterfalls, including Angel Falls with a free drop of 1,002 m. The high level of endemism found on the summits of the tepuis has led to the recognition of Pantepui as a unique biogeographic entity.

The park protects the headwaters of the Caronì River which supplies Guri, the country’s largest hydroelectric power station and source of 60% of the nation’s energy. The savannah portion of the park is inhabited by the indigenous Pemòn people, many of whom are settled and dependent on three Capuchin missions. A main road from Ciudad Bolivar runs along the eastern border of the park, bisecting its south-east corner and providing easy access for tourists. There are no other metalled roads within the park, the western section being accessible only by air.

Reflecting its former connection between South America and Africa through the former Gondwanaland, Canaima has many geological affinities with western Africa. The cliffs and mesa-like structures in the western Sahara consist of sandstone similar to that of the Roraima tepui .

Structurally the tepuis have similarities with Monument Valley in Arizona where similar plateaus and rock types are found. Canaima’s tepuis , however, are more dramatic in terms of their relief, waterfalls, tropical forest slopes and floral endemicity.

The fauna is diverse, although not very abundant: 118 mammals, 550 birds, 72 reptiles and 55 amphibians have been recorded. There are six species of mammals of conservation concern: giant anteater, giant armadillo, giant otter, bush dog, little spotted cat and margay. The only endemic mammal is the rodent Podoxymys roraimae . The avifauna is varied and contains over 30 species endemic to Pantepui. The less mobile orders, amphibians, reptiles and fish, exhibit even higher levels of endemism. The forests and savannah have been occupied for 10,000 years by various groups of Amerindians of the Carib family, collectively known as the Pemon. Two archaeological sites, containing various hand-fashioned stone tools estimated to be 9,000 years old, have been found in the park.

The park is sparsely inhabited: many Pemon maintain traditional lifestyles of swidden agriculture, hunting and gathering. They also trade artefacts and now have access to electricity, schools and basic medical care.

Canada – Niagara Escarpment

The Niagara Escarpment is a long escarpment, or cuesta, in the United States and Canada that runs westward from New York State, through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. It is composed of the Lockport geological formation of Silurian age, and is similar to the Onondaga geological formation, which runs parallel to it and just to the south, through the western portion of New York and southern Ontario. The escarpment is most famous as the cliff over which the Niagara River plunges to form Niagara Falls, for which it is named.
In February 1990, the Niagara Escarpment was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, making it one of 12 in Canada. Development and land use on and adjacent to the physical escarpment is regulated by the Niagara Escarpment Commission, an agency of the Ontario government.

Belarus – Braslau Lakes

Braslau Lakes is one of the seven Belarus National Parks. It is a unique ecosystem with a number of lakes and large area of pine forest with a general area of about 700 km . This include 30 lakes.
Through the latest glacial period, about 18-29 thousand years ago, the area of Braslav Lakes was covered with vast ice fields, the thickness of up to several hundreds meters. The warming, which came afterwards brought along slow ice melting and its movement further to the north. As a result of the complicated process, which accompany the melting of such a huge amount of ice, the characteristic features of the nature of Poozerye with its hilly relief and lakes have shaped. Their concentration at certain relatively small territories is sometimes simply unique. In the North-West of the Republic of Belarus one of the most picturesque lake group of Belarusian Poozerye – the Braslav lakes- is located. An amazing lace comprising 30 big and small lake connected between each other spread out at the area of 114 km2. The biggest lakes are Drivyaty, Snudy, Strusto, Voiso, Volosovo, Nedrovo, Nespish, Berezhe. This group of lakes made up the core of the Braslav Lakes National Park, which was set up in September 1995.