European rainforest

The largest national park in the European Union is in South America.

Guiana Amazonian Park
A. Jailloux [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
No, that’s not a typo. The European Union currently has 28 member states, and all of them are primarily in the continent of Europe. However, several of those states have overseas territories, and several of those territories are not dependencies or protectorates… they are full and official parts of the country, and so are also considered to be a part of that country for the purposes of the European Union.

These territories are known as “outermost regions.”  There are nine of them. The Canary Islands, for example, are part of Spain, and so part of the EU. Most of the outermost regions are islands, but one interesting one is French Guiana. Located near the top of South America, the residents nevertheless spend Euros and vote in French elections like any other French citizen. And they like it; a referendum in 2010 to become more autonomous was rejected by 70% of the voters.

41% of French Guiana is rainforest. And in 2007, all that rainforest was made a national park of France, the Guiana Amazonian Park. It’s huge, 33,900km2, and is the largest protected area of rainforest in the world. It’s also, by a big margin, the largest national park in the European Union.


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