Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System
The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, is comprised of seven protected areas. As the largest reef complex in the Atlantic-Caribbean region it represents the second largest reef system in the world. The unique array of reef types within one self-contained area distinguishes the site from other reef systems. The site is one of the most pristine reef ecosystems in the Western Hemisphere and was referred to ‘as the most remarkable reef in the West Indies’ by Charles Darwin. The reef complex is comprised of approximately 450 sand and mangrove cayes.
The property provides important habitat for a number of threatened marine species, harbouring a number of species of conservation concern including the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), and the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) as well as endemic and migratory birds which reproduce in the littoral forests of cayes, atolls and coastal areas. Major bird colonies include the red-footed booby (Sula sula) on Half-Moon Caye, brown booby (Sula leucogaster) on Man O’War Caye and the common noddy (Anous stolidus) on Glover’s Reef. Approximately 247 taxa of marine flora have been described within the complex and over 500 fish, 65 sceleritian coral, 45 hydroid and 350 mollusc species have also been identified, in addition to a great diversity of sponges, marine worms and crustaceans.
More information: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/764