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UNESCO World Heritage Site #152: Garajonay National Park

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UNESCO World Heritage Site #152: Garajonay National Park

UNESCO World Heritage Site #152: Garajonay National Park

From the World Heritage inscription:

La Gomera lies to the west of Tenerife, and is one of seven islands that make up the Canary Islands archipelago off the north-west coast of Africa in the Atlantic. The island is accessible by ferry from Tenerife. The park can be reached by road from the island’s major towns and villages.

The 1812 Constitution abolished the estates of the nobility and transferred ownership and administration of the forests to the municipal governments. The forests were declared public property and appeared as such in the last Register of Public Property listing dated 1879. The park encompasses San Sebastian, Hermigua, Agulo, Vallehermoso, Valle Gran Rey and Alajero mountains. It consists of an eroded plateau and gently sloping central terrain whose steep sloping escarpments comprise uneven steps that extend as far as the park boundaries.

La Gomera is the only island in the Canaries that has not experienced an eruption in recent times. Thus, ash and lava fields have been eroded away leaving mature soils formed from horizontal basalts cut by a series of ravines (barrancos ). The local landscape is further characterized by volcanic dykes and domes (roques ), examples of the latter being Agando, Ojila, La Zarcilla and Las Lajas in the south-eastern sector of the park.

The park harbours one of the largest continuous areas of laurisilva (laurel) forest, a habitat that has almost disappeared from southern Europe and North Africa. Almost half of the remaining forest in the Canary Islands is included in the park. In spite of being biologically diverse, a large proportion of the flora (25%) and fauna (50%) is endemic, and many species are considered to be nationally threatened.

Garajonay National Park sits in the middle of the island of La Gomera, one of the smallest of the Canary Islands. The laurel forest which covers the interior of this island can be extremely haunting, especially if the forest is in the clouds at the time.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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