National Protected Areas System
The establishment of a National Protected Areas System (NPAS) in Guyana enshrined in legislation provides for the protection and conservation of Guyana’s natural heritage and natural capital, the maintenance of ecosystems services of national and global importance, the fulfilment of Guyana’s international environmental responsibilities and the participation of the public in protected areas conservation.
The National Protected Areas System, which currently comprises of approximately 8.4% of Guyana’s landmass, includes:
- Iwokrama Forest (established by separate legislation, the Iwokrama Act 1996, and a joint mandate from the Government of Guyana and the Commonwealth Secretariat)
- Kaieteur National Park
- Kanashen Amerindian Protected Area
- Kanuku Mountains Protected Area
- Shell Beach Protected Area
- Urban Parks: National Park, Botanical Gardens, Zoological Park, and Joe Vieira Park
The Protected Areas Act also provides for NPAS to comprise of approved privately managed protected areas.
Guyana, and its National Protected Areas System, sits in the heart of the Guiana Shield, an ancient and biologically rich eco-region in northern South America. Guyana is home to unique and globally important ecosystems, filled with rare and unusual species found nowhere else on earth. Over 80% covered in pristine rainforests, the country also boasts some of the most important Amazonian savannahs remaining on the continent, along with highlands covered in isolated tower-like formations called Tepuis, and large stretches of thriving coastal mangroves with deep carbon rich mudflats. These areas provide critical natural services and are thought to contain thousands of species still unknown to science.
The country’s protected areas system has begun to conserve these unique landscapes, and currently cover approximately 8.5% of the country’s landmass. The Trust provides co-financing for the management of Kaieteur National Park, and protected areas in the Kanuku Mountains and the coastal Shell Beach. It also supports a new and innovative community-owed conservation area in Kanashen Village, an area covering 3% of the country. The system is now poised to double in size, with the recent pledge by the Guyana government to establish new protected areas, covering an additional two million hectares. The Trust has a vital role to play in conserve these globally important ecosystems and will continue to support the growth and long-term sustainability of Guyana’s National Protected Areas System.