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[an error occurred while processing this directive]Papahanaumokuakea, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

[an error occurred while processing this directive][an error occurred while processing this directive] Papahanaumokuakea is a small cluster of low-lying islands and atolls in the Pacific Ocean, also called the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The area encompasses 140,000 square miles (360,000 sq km) of ocean was designated the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) Marine National Monument by President George W. Bush on 15 June, 2006. It is the largest conservation area in the United States. Later it was renamed Papahanaumokuakea in 2007. The area is today recognised as a World Heritage Site of both cultural and natural significance.

Papahanaumokuakea is important to the Native Hawaiian people as an embodiment of the Hawaiian concept of kinship between the people and the natural world. Papahanaumokuakea is believed to be the place where life originated and where the spirits return after death. On the islands of Nihoa and Makumanamana are ancient ruins that predate the arrival of Europeans to the area.

Albatross at Papahanaumokuakea
Albatross at Papahanaumokuakea
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Albatross_birds_at_Northwest_Hawaiian_Islands_National_Monument,_Midway_Atoll,_2007March01.jpg
authorshipShealah Craighead, Executive Office of the President of the United States
photo licensing

In addition to its cultural significance, Papahanaumokuakea is also an important wildlife refuge. It is home to various species of birds, mammals and fish as well as plants and trees. The history of preservation of the area goes back to 1909, when President Theodore Roosevelt created the Hawaiian Islands Reservation, to prevent over-harvesting of seabirds. This was upgraded to the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge in 1940 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1988, the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge was established, followed by the Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary in 1993 and the NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve in 2000 by President Bill Clinton.

Papahanaumokuakea was inscribed as a World Heritage Site during the 34th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Brasilia, Brazil, on 25 July - 3 August, 2010.

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N 25 20 56.652 W 170 8 44.952
Inscription Year: 2010
Type: Mixed
Inscription Criteria: III, VI, VIII, IX, X

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