Iguazú National Park
The semicircular waterfall at the heart of this site is some 80 m high and 2,700 m in diameter and is situated on a basaltic line spanning the border between Argentina and Brazil. Made up of many cascades producing vast sprays of water, it is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. The surrounding subtropical rainforest has over 2,000 species of vascular plants and is home to the typical wildlife of the region: tapirs, giant anteaters, howler monkeys, ocelots, jaguars and caymans.
2017 Conservation Outlook
Threats include degradation of the natural setting of the waterfalls, invasive species, hunting, logging, water pollition, biological isolation,
the effects of unnatural changes in river levels because of upstream dams, including ongoing dam construction in close proximity to the site's boundaries, and potential ecosystem changes driven by climate change. While more effective management might improve the natural setting of the falls and reduce hunting and other human-related threats, relatively little can currently be done to reduce or mitigate threats originating outside the Park, including biological isolation, the effects of existing dams and climate change
Current state and trend of VALUES
Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT
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Description of values
One of the largest and most impressive waterfalls in the world
elevator, from the lip of the canyon to the elevated walkways to the Santa María falls and the Hotel das Cataratas (Brazil) (IUCN and UNESCO, 2008). Visitor facilities and trails also have had an impact on vegetation and wildlife in the waterfall area, which holds the greatest biodiversity and highest number of endemic species.
A new hydroelectric project, the Baixo Iguaçu, has recently been approved in Brazil and the construction of the dam has been ongoing. The Environmental Installation License for the project, issued on August 2015, contained a number of obligations that must be fulfilled by the operator in order to mitigate potential negative impacts. (State Party of Brazil, 2016). However, it is unclear whether a specific assessment of all potential impacts of the construction and operation of the dam, including the integrity of the Iguazú National Park in Argentina, has been conducted, as recommended by the IUCN mission (IUCN, 2016).
In terms of control and surveillance, the Park organizes patrols every week, covering a significant area of the property. Joint patrols with the Iguaçu National Park rangers, by land and water, are also being undertaken (State Party of Argentina, 2015).
Since 2008 the PNI budget has increased significantly, obtaining budget allocations from its own resources and from the National Treasure, with an acceptable level of budgetary execution (APN, 2017).
The PNI Management Plan has a project that aims to develop an environmental education and interpretation plan for the Park (APN, 2017).
The Park has a sophisticated interpretation program that includes a visitor center; interpretive signs and brochures; and experienced guides (IUCN and UNESCO, 2008; WHC, 2010; WHC, 2012; UNESCO, 2012).
In 2013 the Old Cataratas Hotel was inaugurated which became the alternative visitor centre, allowing to move Public Use and Chief Ranger offices, from the city of Puerto Iguazu to the National Park. In July 2015 new walkways were opened comprised of about 600 m facilitates, improving the flow of visitors and allowing a different view of the falls (State Party of Argentina, 2015).
In 2015, 26 research authorizations were given, including a number of new projects. The Park supported a fish inventory and a research on jaguar. The park is also updating the Vertebrate Species of Special Value (EVVE) to identify species of conservation importance, directing efforts for their protection, monitoring, enforcement and research (State Party of Argentina, 2015).
Habitat conversion along the eastern boundary is the second largest outside threat. Projects designed to slow the rate of conversion have had only marginal success so far (IUCN and UNESCO, 2008; WHC, 2010; WHC, 2012; UNESCO, 2012).
|№||Organization/ individuals||Project duration||Brief description of Active Projects|
|1||WWF Brazil, WWF Paraguay and Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina (WWF associate in Argentina)||Ecoregional Action Plan (2014 – 2018) established a vision that states that by 2020, the Upper Parana and Serra do Mar ecoregions will maintain landscapes that guarantee the conservation of biodiversity, functioning corridors, and environmental services, providing equitable economic and social development for local people.|
|№||Site need title||Brief description of potential site needs||Support needed for following years|
|1||N.A.||Development of an evaluation of management effectiveness of the Iguazú World Heritage Site using the methods developed through the “Enhancing our Heritage” project.|
|2||Research funding||Development of a research fund to address research needs to support critical management decisions for Iguazú National Park.|
|3||Patrols||Joint patrols should be promoted with a regular frequency aiming to improve law enforcement and reduce hunting, logging, terrestrial plants harvesting and fishing.|
|1||APN (2017). Plan de Gestión del Parque Nacional Iguazú (draft). Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable, Administración de Parques Nacionales. Puerto Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina.|
|2||IUCN and UNESCO. (2008). Mission Report Iguazú National Park in Argentina and Iguaçu National Park in Brazil. Gland, Switzerland and Paris, France: IUCN and UNESCO World Heritage Centre.|
|3||State Party of Argentina (2015). Report of the State Party of Argentina to the World Heritage Committee on the state of conservation of the Iguazú National Park (Argentina).|
|4||State Party of Brazil (2016). Report of the State Party to the World Heritage Committee on the state of conservation of Iguaçu National Park (Brazil).|
|5||UNESCO (2012). Report on the State of Conservation of Iguazú National Park (Argentina).|
|6||UNESCO (2016). Report on the State of Conservation of Iguaçu National Park (Brazil).|
|7||WWF – FVSA (2014). Ecoregional Action Plan – Atlantic Forest (2014 – 2018). Puerto Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina.|
|8||World Heritage Committee (2010). Decision 34 COM 7B.30. Iguazú National Park (Argentina).|
|9||World Heritage Committee (2012). Decision 36 COM 7B.28. Iguazú National Park (Argentina).|
|10||World Heritage Committee (2013). Decision 37 COM 8E Iguazú National Park Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (Argentina).|