Conservation news

New park in French Guiana creates largest Amazon protected area

New park in French Guiana creates largest Amazon protected area

New park in French Guiana creates largest Amazon protected area
Rhett A. Butler,
February 28, 2007

Environmental group WWF has applauded the creation of a new national park in French Guiana, a department of France located in northeastern South America.

WWF says the 2 million-hectare Guyana Amazonian Park will link to protected areas in neighboring Brazil, including the Tumucumaque National Park, Grao-Para Station and Maicuru Reserve. In total, the protected areas network will encompass 12 million hectares of tropical forest, making it the world’s largest rainforest park.

“We have been supporting the creation of this park for the past 15 years, so we can only be pleased by such an outcome,” said Serge Orru, CEO of WWF-France. “The protection of such a large cover of tropical forest will also help reduce deforestation, which significantly contributes to climate change worldwide.”

Click to enlarge. Courtesy of WWF

While the environmental groups is pleased with the establishment of the park, it is concerned about development in the buffer zone as well as threats to native populations living outside the reserve. In recent years, informal gold-mining has surged in the border region as miners known as garimpeiros illegally cross over from Brazil.

“The creation of the new park is a strong commitment for the long-term conservation of French Guiana’s forests,” said Laurent Kelle, Head of WWF’s office in French Guiana. “But given the current situation in the field, only a serious and effective cooperation with Brazil and Suriname will help tackle illegal gold mining, and lead to responsible management of the whole complex of protected areas in region.”

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