Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 2000
Size of heritage: 1,600,000 ha

Longitude: -55,500°
Latitude: 4,000°


The Central Suriname Nature Reserve comprises 1.6 million ha of primary tropical forest of west-central Suriname. It protects the upper watershed of the Coppename River and the headwaters of the Lucie, Oost, Zuid, Saramaccz, and Gran Rio rivers and covers a range of topography and ecosystems of notable conservation value due to its pristine state. Its montane and lowland forests contain a high diversity of plant life with more than 5,000 vascular plant species collected to date. The Reserve's animals are typical of the region and include the jaguar, giant armadillo, giant river otter, tapir, sloths, eight species of primates and 400 bird species such as harpy eagle, Guiana cock-of-the-rock, and scarlet macaw.

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Central Suriname Nature Reserve

The Central Suriname Nature Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the District of Sipaliwini, Suriname. Covering an area of approximately 1.6 million hectares, it is one of the largest protected areas in the world and represents a significant portion of the pristine Amazon rainforest.


The establishment of the Central Suriname Nature Reserve can be traced back to the early 20th century when Suriname was still a Dutch colony. The area was initially designated as a forest reserve in 1912, aiming to protect the valuable timber resources found within its boundaries. Over the years, the reserve underwent several expansions and management changes.

In 1998, the Central Suriname Nature Reserve was officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its exceptional biodiversity and unique ecosystems. This designation aimed to safeguard the area's natural and cultural heritage for future generations and promote sustainable development in the region.

Current State

The Central Suriname Nature Reserve is renowned for its remarkable biodiversity, with over 5,000 plant species, 400 bird species, and numerous rare and endangered animals. The reserve is home to iconic species such as jaguars, giant river otters, and giant anteaters, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and researchers alike.

The pristine rainforests within the reserve play a crucial role in regulating the global climate and maintaining the ecological balance of the Amazon basin. The area is also of great cultural significance, as it is inhabited by indigenous communities who have lived in harmony with the forest for centuries.

Efforts to protect and manage the Central Suriname Nature Reserve are led by the Suriname Conservation Foundation (SCF) in collaboration with local communities and international partners. The SCF focuses on sustainable development initiatives, scientific research, and community engagement to ensure the long-term preservation of the reserve.

However, the Central Suriname Nature Reserve faces several challenges that threaten its integrity. Illegal logging, mining, and poaching pose significant threats to the delicate ecosystems and wildlife within the reserve. Additionally, climate change and deforestation in surrounding areas further exacerbate these risks.

To address these challenges, the Surinamese government, in partnership with international organizations, has implemented various conservation measures. These include increased surveillance and law enforcement, community-based conservation projects, and the promotion of sustainable livelihoods for local communities.

Despite the ongoing threats, the Central Suriname Nature Reserve remains a symbol of Suriname's commitment to preserving its natural heritage. Its UNESCO World Heritage status serves as a testament to the global significance of this pristine rainforest and the need for international cooperation in its protection.

Visitors to the Central Suriname Nature Reserve can experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Amazon rainforest, encounter diverse wildlife, and learn about the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous communities. By promoting responsible tourism and supporting conservation efforts, visitors can contribute to the long-term sustainability of this invaluable World Heritage site.