Magazine article Geographical

Brazil's Mega-Reserve for the Millennium

Magazine article Geographical

Brazil's Mega-Reserve for the Millennium

Article excerpt

Three Amazon reserves totalling almost 60,000 square kilometres have been merged to create the largest tract of protected rainforest on the planet. The Amana Reserve, which sits between Brazil's vast Negro and Japura rivers, has been joined with the neighbouring Jau National Park and Mamiraua Reserve to form a huge corridor of protected jungle.

Amana, which was created late last year and should be open to ecotourists before the turn of the millennium, is the only protected area in the Amazon spanning two of the region's most important ecosystems -- the black waters of the Negro and the muddy waters of the Japura. This makes the area especially valuable from a biological point of view. "It contains a diversity of animal and plant species, including some that depend on two ecosystems," says zoologist Marcio Ayres, one of the coordinators of the Amana Sustainable Development Reserve.

The new reserve also contains the Amazon's largest lake, Lake Amana, which is 45 kilometres long and three kilometres wide at some points. Dolphins can be seen in the lake during the dry period from June to October, and thousands of birds flock to the tiny islands that are revealed as the water level drops. …

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