Amazon protection widens into French Guiana
Cayenne, French Guiana – The creation of a new national park in this French territory in South America will significantly increase the protection of tropical forests in the Amazon, says WWF.
Vast in its own right, the 2 million-hectare Guyana Amazonian Park will link up with other protected areas in neighbouring Brazil, including the Tumucumaque National Park, Grao-Para Station and the recently declared Maicuru Reserve. Together, this cross-border protected areas network totals more than 12 million hectares, making it the world’s largest expanses of tropical forest under conservation.
“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 park will help preserve the habitat of endangered species, such as the jaguar and the harpy eagle, which require large territories to survive. And the protection of such a large cover of tropical forest will also help reduce deforestation, which significantly contributes to climate change worldwide.”
WWF, however, is concerned that territories inhabited by indigenous communities in the south-western part of the country were not included in the core protected area, but left in a 1.3 million hectare buffer zone where human activities and development will be allowed.
Any development in the buffer zone will have to fully respect the way of life of indigenous people as well as the conservation needs for the core zone, according to the global conservation organization.
“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.”
WWF, through its regional office in the Guianas — which covers Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana — is working in partnership with local NGOs, governmental agencies and communities to address such environmental threats.
And through the Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) programme — a partnership between the Brazilian government, World Bank, Global Environment Facility, German Development Bank, Brazilian Biodiversity Fund, WWF and others — millions of additional hectares of protected areas are being created in the Amazon.
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