Natural Heritage of Mankind
Whoever thinks that the only things at the Iguassu National
Park are the Waterfalls is mistaken. Actually, the edge
of the Park just happens to have the most famous falls in
The course of the Iguassu River is protected well before
the waterfalls, which springs from the Serra do Mar mountain
range and crosses almost the entire state of Paraná
before arriving at its mouth. The last 50 kilometers of
the Iguassu river are within the park.
Recognized by Unesco as natural heritage of mankind in 1986,
the second oldest national park in Brazil and the largest
outside of the Amazon covers an area of 185,000 hectares
on the Brazilian side and 67,000 hectares on the Argentine
side. The park's environmental services and the beauty of
its landscape comprise a single and borderless refuge.
It is not by chance that the park is considered as one of
the last reserves of seasonal semidecidual type of the Atlantic
Rain Forest in Brazil and the largest subtropical rainforest
reserve on Earth.
According to official statistics, the state of Paraná
only retains 3.4% of its original seasonal semidecidual
forest . Over half of this total is contained within the
Park itself, making it a veritable forested island in a
sea of extensive cultivated fields. Moreover, underneath
the park lies the Guarani Aquifer, one of the largest underground
water reserves in the world.
In terms of biodiversity, the Park is home to some 257 species
of butterflies, 18 species of fish, 12 species of amphibians,
41 snake species, 8 species of lizards, 340 species of fowl
and 45 of mammals, and has attracted the attention of many
researchers who have produced relevant scientific studies
based on wildlife from the area.
Iguassu National Park is home to many rare species of fauna
and flora. These include thousands of animals, many of them
endangered, such as the jaguar and broad-snouted caiman,
and a number of very rare bird species, such as the b lack-fronted
piping guan , the harpy eagle and the v inaceous-breasted
The flora is also quite diversified. Some species reach
heights of up to 30 meters, such as pacara earpod tree,
cedar, amberwood and the ipês, in addition to delicate
orchids and bromeliads.