The Central Amazon Conservation Complex and Biosphere Reserve make up the largest protected area in the Amazon Basin and are one of the planet's richest regions in terms of biodiversity. It is where the majority of the ecosystems recorded in the Amazon Basin are found.
Central Amazon Conservation Complex
The Central Amazon Conservation Complex is located west-northwest of Manaus, the capital of Brazil's Amazonas state, between Río Solimões and Río Negro: two of the major tributaries of the Amazon watershed.
This site of nearly 15 million acres (6 million ha) is the largest protected area in the Amazon Basin and one of the richest areas of the planet in terms of biodiversity. It is the core area of the Central Amazon Ecological Corridor.
Jaú National Park was inscribed in 2000 and the property was subsequently expanded in 2003 with the addition of three other protected areas (Anavilhanas National Park, Amanã Sustainable Development Reserve, and Mamairauá Sustainable Development Reserve).
World Heritage Site
The classification of these four sites developed into the current World Heritage property entitled "Central Amazon Conservation Complex" which is also part of the Central Amazon Biosphere Reserve (see below).
Jaú National Park
Jaú National Park is the largest forest reserve in South America. It is situated within the Amazon Biome and the Japurá-Solimões-Negro moist forests ecoregion. It covers an area of 2,367,333 ha (5,849,810 acres) in the state of Amazonas. The park's terrain is representative of the Negro-Solimões interfluvial plateau.
Anavilhanas National Park
Anavilhanas National Park protects the environment of the Anavilhanas Archipelago in the Río Negro (one of the largest in the world) and its forest formations. It is about 1,230 km (80 mi) long and on average 20 km (12 mi) wide, with a total area of 350,470 ha (866,000 acres). The fluvial part of the park, 60% of the total, has more than 400 islands.
Amanã Sustainable Development Reserve
The Amanã Sustainable Development Reserve covers 2,350,000 ha (5,800,000 acres) in the north-central part of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Vegetation is mostly tall terra firma forest with areas of white water várzea and blackwater igapó flooded forest. The reserve is home to various rare or endangered species.
Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve
The Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve is an 11,000 sq km (4,300 sq mi) reserve in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Mamirauá is recognized by the international Ramsar Convention, as a wetland of global importance. The reserve is in the Solimões-Japurá moist forests and Purus várzea ecorgions.
Located primarily at the confluence of the Negro and Solimões rivers, the World Heritage site contains the majority of the ecosystems recorded in the Amazon, including dryland forests and periodically flooded lowland forests (várzea and igapó, as well as black-water or white-water watercourses, waterfalls, swamps, lakes and beaches.
The Anavilhanas Archipelago, one of the largest river archipelagos in the world, is constantly evolving and is home to the largest array of electric fish on the planet.
The várzea and igapó flooded forests, lakes, rivers and islands of the site demonstrate ongoing ecological processes in the development of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. They include a constantly changing and evolving mosaic of river channels, lakes, and landforms. In constant movement, the floating mats of vegetation typical of the várzea watercourses include a significant number of endemic species.
The site protects a wide variety of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species such as the giant Arapaima (the largest freshwater fish in South America), the giant otter, the Amazonian manatee, the black caiman and two species of freshwater dolphins.
The Central Amazon Conservation Complex protects a large and representative sample of the flora and fauna of the forests of the Amazon Central Plain, with a significant number of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems associated with the forest which are periodically inundated by seasonal flooding, as well as swamps.
Central Amazon Biosphere Reserve
The Central Amazon Biosphere Reserve is located in a vast region of Brazil influenced by both the Río Negro and Río Solimões, tributaries of the Amazon River, and in the Amazon Plains-Guiana Shield transition area.
It is representative of the largest forest in the world and is made up of vast protected areas as well as smaller units that are important as ecological corridors for maintaining the genetic flow of species between these different units.
The Central Amazon Biosphere Reserve includes several regions with low population density where traditional forms of natural resource use are developed (mainly extraction and traditional agriculture).
Over 100,000 inhabitants (2001) live in the Biosphere Reserve, presenting a rich cultural diversity (small northeastern farmers who are in the region for a long time, indigenous people and fishermen). The city of Manaus is the largest industrial center in the Amazon region and is becoming an important tourist region.