Central Suriname Nature Reserve
Central Suriname Nature Reserve
Natural Suriname Latin America And The Caribbean District Sipaliwini

Central Suriname Nature Reserve comprises 1.6 million hectares of primary tropical forest of west-central Suriname, within the phylogeographical limits of Amazonia. The reserve protects the upper watershed of the Coppename River and covers a range of topography and ecosystems. This site is one of the two largest reserves in the Guyana Shield highlands. Its mountainous and lowland forests contain a high diversity of plant life with almost 6,000 vascular plant species have been collected to date. There are also other areas of swamp forest, savannah and xerophytic vegetation on granite outcrops. The reserve's avifauna numbers 400 species and there are viable populations of animals typical of the region, including jaguar, giant armadillo, giant river otter, tapir, sloths and eight species of primate.

Much of the reserve has yet to be inventoried and the true extent of the area's diversity is not fully known. Several distinctive geological and physical formations occur in the site including several granite inselbergs that rise to 360 m above the surrounding tropical forest.

This natural property has a number of attributes that distinguish it from other reserves in the region:

  • its size makes it one of the 10 largest tropical forest reserves in the Amazon/Guyana Shield region;
  • its floristic composition, due to its location on the eastern edge of the Precambrian Guyana Shield, contains an assemblage of species with substantial differences with the rest of the region;
  • it is of particular importance for several rare faunal species such as cock-of-the-rock and giant otter;
  • it contains the distinctive geological feature of granite domes and additional relief provided by a tepui and the Wilhelmina mountain range;
  • it is one of the very few undisturbed forest areas in the Amazonian region with no inhabitants and no human use.

Although large parts of the Guyana Shield and Amazon regions are being rapidly transformed by logging, hunting, mining and settlement, the reserve remains inaccessible, largely unaffected and unthreatened by human activity. However, as development pressures build around the reserve it is likely that, in future, threats may arise. Of the three existing protected areas that were linked to form this area, only the Raleighvallen Natural Reserve has infrastructure for park management and a management plan. Preparation of a plan for the whole reserve has commenced. This process will take some time as consultations with the local communities are being undertaken.