Natural World Heritage Sites in trouble, especially in the Tropics; Claire Asher; Monga Bay

Niger – Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves

A new assessment of UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites found 35 percent with significant conservation concerns, or worse. Most are in the Tropics.

  • From the Great Barrier Reef to the Galapagos Islands and the forests of central Africa, over a third of Natural World Heritage Sites designated by UNESCO are under threat from myriad problems.
  • Of the seventeen locations with a critical conservation outlook, sixteen are in the Tropics, and the majority of those are in Africa. Less than half of African World Heritage sites received a “good” outlook. Lack of funding in developing nations is a major problem.
  • Sites harboring rich biodiversity, such as Virunga and Garamba national parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve in Honduras, are especially at risk.
  • The most common threats are invasive non-native species, unsustainable tourism, poaching, hydroelectric dams, and logging.

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