World Heritage Sites cover some of the world’s most astonishing natural places, often containing species found no-where else on earth. They embrace temperate and tropical rainforest; dry land and marshland; coral reef and alpine slopes. These, and other world parks, provide renewable resources such as freshwater for millions of people; they act as buffers, reducing the impact and ferocity of flooding; they safeguard the earth’s embattled plant and animal species. The value of parks to the global economy is huge and barely ever recognised by financial analysts. Indebted countries face severe pressures to convert natural areas to other uses, and yet UNESCO has no shortage of governments applying to have areas designated as new Heritage sites. Their success depends on integrating economy with ecology. Earth Report visits several of the world’s most remarkable parks in Congo, Suriname, Italy and Cambodia to see how protection of the natural environment is being met without sacrificing the needs of local populations.
Films in this series