Thursday, 10 Jul, 2008 Environment

New Natural Wonders Revealed


Eight new natural wonders were named by the UNESCO and added to the World Heritage List.

World Heritage sites present natural and cultural places that are recognized for their universal value to humanity and should be preserved and protected.

The updated World Heritage list includes 679 cultural, 174 natural and 25 mixed sites in 145 countries. This year eight new wonders were officially named:

  1. Joggins Fossil Cliffs (Canada)
  2. Mount Sanqingshan National Park (China)
  3. Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems (France)
  4. Surtsey (Iceland)
  5. Saryarka - Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan)
  6. Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (Mexico)
  7. Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona (Switzerland)
  8. Socotra Archipelago (Yemen)

The Joggins Fossil Cliffs are located on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada. The site contains the most complete fossil record of the details of life in the "Coal Age", preserving the Earth's history. The layers of rock bear witness to a wide variety of flora and fauna, as well as the world's first reptiles over millions of years.

Mount Sanqingshan National Park in China is known as a natural beauty located in northeast Jiangxi Province, was included in the list for its exceptional scene consisting of fantastically shaped 89 granite pillars and 48 peaks, bearing resemblance to human and animal silhouettes. Outstanding rock formations and vegetation, a great number of waterfalls, lakes and springs together with particular meteorological effect create a unique landscape.

Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems located in New Caledonia in the South Pacific is one of the three longest coral reef systems in the world. The site boasts the extensive array of species and is home to a number of endangered fish, turtles and marine mammals. The Lagoons is an outstanding place that reveals the history of Oceania.

Surtsey, is an island located 20 miles off the southern coast of Iceland. It was formed by volcanic eruptions in the 1960s and represents a great source of information about the new life forms.

Saryarka - Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan site extends to 200,000 hectares of Central Asian steppe, the area of open grassland. Being the heart of the Eurasian continent, the site is extremely rich in natural resources. More than 200 lakes, including Tengiz Lake is feeding home to around 16 million birds and waterfowls with a number of them being endangered.

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere is a site located about 100 km northwest of Mexico City. The outstanding place is a habitat to millions of butterflies that come from the wide areas of North America in winter. In spring the massive migration of butterflies sends them away to Eastern Canada during which period four successive generations are born and die.

The Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona, in the north-eastern part of Switzerland extends to 32,850 ha area featuring mountain buildings and geological sections, uncovering the structures and processes where older rocks overlaying younger ones.

The Socotra Archipelago is a chain of islands being part of the Republic of Yemen consisting of the main island of Socotra and three smaller islands Abd al Kuri, Samhah, Darsa called "the Brothers". It is habitat to 825 plant species of which 37 percent are unique to the island. It contains the diverse marine species of corals, fish, crab, lobsters and shrimp.

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