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Manu National Park


Manu National Park is a biosphere reserve located in Madre de Dios and Paucartambo, Cusco. Before becoming an area protected by the Peruvian government, the Manu National Park was conserved thanks to its inaccessibility. The park remains fairly inaccessible by road to this day. In 1977, UNESCO recognised it as a Reserve of Biosphere and in 1987, it was pronounced a World Heritage Site. It is the largest National Park in Peru, covering an area of 15,328 km. The Biosphere Reserve includes an additional 2,570 km, and a further 914 km are included in a "Cultural Zone" (which also is afforded a level of protection), bringing the total area up to 18,811 km.

The park protects several ecological zones ranging from as low as 150 meters above sea level in parts of the Amazon Basin to Puna grassland at altitudes of 4200 meters. Because of this topographical range, it has one of highest levels of biodiversity of any park in the world. Overall, more than 15,000 species of plants are found in Manu, and up to 250 varieties of trees have been found in a single hectare. The reserve is a destination for birdwatchers from all over the world, as it is home to over 1000 species of birds, more than the number of bird species found in the United States and Canada combined.

Park layout

The park encompasses virtually the entire watershed of the Manu River, from the sources of its tributaries high in the Andes, to its emptying into the Madre de Dios River. As the surrounding area is largely undeveloped, the only direct access to the lowlands is by boat, up the Manu River. This singular entry point is easily patrolled by park guards. The road Cusco-Paucartambo-Shintuya borders the southern section of the park and provides access to high-Andean ecosystems, such as grasslands (puna) and montane forest and

Manu on GoogleMaps

Park administration

As with all national parks in Peru, Manu is operated by INRENA, the National Natural Resources Institute (Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales).

Humans in the park

Permanent human habitation is restricted to several small communities of the Matsigenga Amazonian tribal group, largely along the Manu river or one of its main tributaries. Several protected areas adjoining the park allow mixed use including tourism, hunting, logging, and harvesting of other resources. These areas, notably downstream on the Manu River, are included in the broader Manu biosphere reserve, but are not part of the national park.

Visitors within the national park include medical and educational professionals upon invitation by the indigenous community, and researchers with permits from INRENA. The Cocha Cashu Biological Station, under the guidance of renowned Duke University ecologist John Terborgh is the largest and most established research site in the park, and is among the most well-studied sites for biological and ecological research in the tropics.

The Manu Learning Centre (MLC) lies within the Cultural Zone of the Manu Biosphere Reserve along the South-Eastern border with the Alto Madre de Dios River. The MLC facilitates research work within the disturbed 'buffer' zone of the park where human impact is at its greatest.

Flora

More than 20,000 species. 40% of the park is Amazonian lowland tropical rainforest, including varzea, oxbow lakes, Iriartea palm swamps, and upland forest types.

Fauna

Mammals : 159 species

Reptiles : 99 species

Amphibians : 140 species

Birds : 1000 species

Fish : 210 species

Insects (numerous undescribed species not included)

*Butterflies : 1307 species

*Ants : 300 species

*Dragonflies : 136 species

*Beetles : 650 species

See also

Iperu, tourist information and assistance

Tourism in Peru

External links

World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Official UNESCO website entry

Manu national Park map

Manu the living Edens

Manu national park information from UNEP

Cocha Cashu Biological Station

Manu Learning Centre

Frogs of Acjanaco, Manu National Park

over 800 species of birds

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Manu National Park


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