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Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves
Site number:
Type of site: Natural
Date of Inscription: 2001
Location: South America, Brazil, Pernambuco and Rio Grande do Norte States
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Description: The Fernando de Noronha Archipelago and Rocas Atoll (off the coast of Brazil) are formed by the peaks of the Southern Atlantic submarine ridge. They characterize a major proportion of the South Atlantic’s island surfaces; their rich waters play a vital role in the breeding and feeding of tuna, shark, turtle and marine mammals. The largest concentration of tropical seabirds in the whole of the Western Atlantic resides within these islands. Baia de Golfinhos boasts an exceptional resident dolphin population and when the tide is low the Rocas Atoll provides a magnificent seascape of lagoons and tidal pools swarming with fish. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, around 220 miles (354 km) offshore from the Brazilian coast. The area is a special municipality (distrito estatal) of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco. The islands of this archipelago are the visible parts of a range of submerged mountains. Consisting of 21 islands, islets and rocks of volcanic origin. The base of this enormous volcanic formation is 2480 feet (756 m) below the surface. The main island, from which the group gets its name, makes up 91% of the total area; the islands of Rata, Sela Gineta, Cabeluda and São Jose, together with the islets of Leão and Viúva make up the rest. Rocas Atoll ( Atol das Rocas) is an atoll in the Atlantic Ocean. It is part of Rio Grande do Norte state, Brazil. It's of volcanic origin and coralline formation. The land area of the two islets (Cemitério Island, southwest and Farol Cay, northwest) is 0.36 km² (89 acres). Both islets are overgrown with grasses, bushes and a few palm trees. There are crabs, spiders, scorpions, sand fleas, beetles, large roaches, and many species of birds. The atoll is a wildlife sanctuary, and in 2001 was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Numerous turtles, sharks, dolphins and birds live in the area. The atoll consists mainly of coral and red algae. The coral ring is almost closed, with a 200 m (660 ft) wide channel on the North side and a much narrower channel on the West side. A biological reserve, it is currently used solely for scientific research. Due to their remote location, the islands remain largely undisturbed by the human activities. On the other hand, it also limits the research's access to the islands and few studies have been developed in this atoll. The Entomological fauna from Atol das Rocas was already recorded. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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