Rainforest in Honduras
Rainforests in Honduras and on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have been added to the U.N.’s “danger” list due to illegal logging, encroachment, and road contruction, reports UNESCO.
Meeting Wednesday in Paris at the World Heritage Committee, UNESCO added the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve of Honduras and the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra to its World Heritage List in Danger, a registry of threatened sites. The listing aims to “mobilize support and raise awareness to overcome threats” to the sites.
Honduras requested the addition of Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, citing “the combined threats of illegal logging, fishing and land occupation, poaching and the reduced capacity of the State to manage the site, notably due to the deterioration of law and to the presence of drug traffickers.” Río Plátano was on the danger list between 1996 and 2007.
Giant Dipterocarp tree in Gunung Leuser, North Sumatra. Photos by Rhett A. Butler.
UNESCO moved on its own accord to list the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, which includes Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. UNESCO said “poaching, illegal logging, agricultural encroachment, and plans to build roads through the site” are the biggest threats to the Sumatran sites, which include some 2.5 million hectares of tropical forest ecosystems. The sites house 180 mammal species and 450 bird species.
UNESCO said the danger list helps “focus the efforts of government departments, civil society and international cooperation” in protecting at risk sites. Currently there are some three dozen sites on the list. Sites in Madagascar, the United States, Uganda, and Georgia were added last year.