UNESCO World Heritage List
The World Heritage Committee has added 21 sites to the UNESCO World Heritage List, including the Florida Everglades, Hawaii’s marine area called the Papahānaumokuākea, and Madagascar’s rainforests.
Meeting in Brasilia since July 25th, the World Heritage Committee reviewed and selected nominations for the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger, reports CNN.
The Everglades is over 1.5 million acres, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. This is the second time the Everglades has been included on the list – the first time, between 1993 and 1997, was due to damages caused by Hurricane Andrew.
The Everglades is suffering degradation due to reduced water inflows (up to 60%) and high pollution levels. The Florida Museum of Natural History has a list of the threatened and endangered species in the Florida Everglades, which includes the American alligator and crocodile, sea turtles, manatee, Florida panther, and birds.
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is one of only 26 mixed (natural and cultural) World Heritage Sites in the world. Covering almost 140,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean, this area of coral reefs is home to over 7,000 marine species including the endangered Hawaiian monk seal and threatened green sea turtle. It’s also a cultural area for the indigineous Oceanic peoples.
The plight of Madagascar’s rainforests is well known. This year, the rain forests of Atsinanana in Madagascar made the UNESCO list following illegal logging (and export) and hunting of endangered lemurs on the site, CNN advises. Many rare rainforest species are threatened, especially lemurs which are found only in Madagascar.