The world is filled with beautiful plants and animals. From the United States to Kyrgyzstan, this is a list of ten areas around the world that have biodiversity protection in mind.
#1 Sinharaja Forest Reserve
Where: Southwest Sri Lanka
When: Established between 1875 and the early 20th Century. It became a Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988.
Highlights: This Reserve has 50% of Sri Lanka’s remaining lowland rainforest vegetation with a ton of endemic species (which means belonging to or native to the area). These include 143 trees and woody climbers, 21 bird species as well as several mammals and butterflies.
Did you know?… “Sinharaja” literally means lion king and the area is often the setting of local legends.
#2 Yosemite National Park
Where: Sierra Nevada in California, USA
When: Created in 1890, which makes it one of the world’s first official national parks.
Highlights: Mountains, valleys and at least 9 waterfalls including the tallest in North America (Yosemite Falls). You will also find over 300 animal species and over 1500 plants, including the Giant Sequoias.
Did you know?… Yosemite National Park was originally created to protect the highlands from the damaging affects of grazing sheep. It has since served as an example for the formation of many other national parks.
#3 Daisetsuzan National Park
Where: At “Roof of Hokkaido,” an area at the centre of the island of Hokkaido, Japan
When: Established in 1934
Highlights: Subarctic lakes and waterfalls along high mountains, not to mention a smoking volcano or two. There are rare butterflies and insects within mixed forests, as well as bears and deer. One of the most interesting animals is the Pika, a small mouse-like mammal.
Did you know?… It is the largest national park in Japan and “Daisetsuzan” means Great Snowy Mountains.
#4 Galapagos Islands National Park
Where: A group of islands in the Pacific Ocean beside Ecuador
When: Created in 1936, it became a Biosphere Reserve in 1984 and a Marine Reserve in 1986.
Highlights: Numerous islands, rock walls and sandy beaches surrounded by close to 560 plant species! There are 175 endemic plants and almost 5000 fauna species. All the reptiles in this park are endemic except for two tortoises.
Did you know?… The Islands were formed by a series of volcanic eruptions. Perhaps most famously, the island’s biodiversity played a vital role in the development of the theory of evolution. Thanks Darwin!
#5 Fiordland National Park
Where: Southwestern New Zealand on the South Island
When: Founded in 1952, it became a World Heritage Area in 1986 as part of Te Wāhipounamu
Highlights: Many small islands with mountains, frozen rivers and lakes with forests and grasslands. Within its borders there are over 700 endemic plant species and many animals and birds. This Park is also home to the Kakapo and the Takahe (a bird that was thought to be extinct before being rediscovered in 1948).
Did you know?… Fiordland is the largest national park in New Zealand
#6 Marojejy National Park
Where: Northeast end of Madagascar
When: In 1952 it became a strict nature reserve, in 1998 it was turned into a park and became open to the public.
Highlights: Within the Park’s mountains there are over 300 species of Pteridophytes, non-flowering plants like ferns, including six that are endemic to the area. There are also over 300 different animal species.
Did you know?… Silky Sifaka, a lemur that lives in the park, is one of the rarest animals in the world.
#7 Northeast Greenland National Park
Where: The Northeast side of Greenland
When: Created in 1974, it became a Biosphere Reserve in 1977
Highlights: The land is covered in ice and there are fjords (formed when a glacier cuts a U-shaped valley) throughout the area. Due to the cold climate, animal and plant life is limited. In the south, some traditional hunting communities still exist.
Did you know?…It is the most northern and largest national park in the world, taking up almost one quarter of the island’s land surface. In case you’re wondering, Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark.
#8 Timanfaya National Park
Where: The island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands
When: Established in 1974 and distinguished as a Biosphere Reserve in 1993
Highlights: The history of volcanic eruptions in this area has created a barren land with few plants and animals. There are 20 plants that are endemic on the island and most of these are shrubs.
Did you know?… The park was originally created to protect the volcanic landscape from the affects of tourists. Also, the volcanoes on the island are still active and some people cook food using its heat.
#9 Ala Archa National Park
Where: Tien Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan
When: Created in 1979
Highlights: Large glaciers, over 50 mountain peaks with several valleys, canyons, and gorges. There are also 800 plant species and over 300 animal species.
Did you know?…Tien Shan Mountains are part of the Great Silk Road, which stretches from Europe to Asia. The Great Silk Road was the main route for communication and trade in the area up until the 16th century.
#10 La Amistad International Park
Where: Cordillera De Talamanca Mountains that runs through Panama and Costa Rica
When: Established in 1982 in Costa Rica and 1988 in Panama, it became a Biosphere Reserve in 1983
Highlights: Tropical rainforests and mountainous with 180 plants and over 60 animal species endemic to the area. Of the 850 birds that live in Panama, 550-600 can be found in La Amistad.
Did you know?… Its Mountains are the highest and largest area of undisturbed cloud forest in Central America. It is also the destination of 75% of all the migratory birds of the Western Hemisphere during migration.