THE WORLD HERITAGE PARKS The Rainforest and Vilcabamba Valley of Ecuador
The primary goal of the IEENI GLOBAL FOUNDATION is to work with the government of Ecuador to structure the Rainforest and Vilcabamba Valley into WORLD HERITAGE PARKS. Below is the history of how the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador became the first World Heritage Park and the criteria by UNESCO to declare other sites to become World Heritage sites or parks. Both the Rainforest and Vilcabamba Valley will qualify because they meet the UNESCO criteria.
Ecuador was the first country to create a World Heritage Park. and THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS is the most famous and visited World Heritage Park in the world. The Islands rise from the sea about 800 miles west of the Ecuadorian mainland.
The Galápagos were claimed by newly-independent Ecuador in 1832, three years before Darwin's visit his on ship, the Beagle. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the islands were inhabited by very few settlers and were used as a penal colony, the last closing in 1959 when the islands were declared a national park. The Galapagos were approved as a World Heritage Site in 1978.
The Galápagos National Park was established in 1959. Its mission is “to provide the knowledge and support to ensure the conservation of the environment and bio-diversity of the archipelago of Galápagos, through scientific research and complementary actions”. The Galápagos National Park consists of 97% of the land on the islands; that is approximately 9000 kilometers square or 6000 miles square.
The Galápagos archipelago is world-renowned for its unique and fearless wildlife- much of which was inspiration for Charles Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. The islands are therefore very popular amongst natural historians, both professional and amateur. Giant tortoises which live up to 800 years, sea lions, penguins, marine iguanas and different bird species can all be seen and approached.
The landscape of the islands is relatively barren and volcanic, and spectacular. The highest mountain in the islands is Volcán Wolf on Isla Isabela, 1707 m (5600ft) high.
THE RAINFOREST OF ECUADOR is one of the country’s National Treasures
It is an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.
THE VILCABAMBA VALLEY OF ECUADOR is one of the country's National Treasures.
THE VILCABAMBA VALLEY OF ECUADOR, also known as THE VALLEY OF LONGEVITY is where the people live to an average age of 100. The Valley is an outstanding example representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals.