Characteristics of Biosphere Reserves

The main characteristics of biosphere reserves are:

  • Achieving the three interconnected functions: conservation, development and logistic support
  • Outpacing  traditional confined conservation zones, through appropriate zoning schemes combining core protected areas with zones where sustainable development is fostered by local dwellers and enterprises with often highly innovative and participative governance systems
  • Focusing on a multi-stakeholder approach with particular emphasis on the involvement of local communities in management
  • Fostering dialogue for conflict resolution of natural resource use
  • Integrating cultural and biological diversity, especially the role of traditional knowledge in ecosystem management
  • Demonstrating sound sustainable development practices and policies based on research and monitoring
  • Acting as sites of excellence for education and training
  • Participating in the World Network

About the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB)

The MAB Programme develops the basis within the natural and social sciences for the rational and sustainable use and conservation of the resources of the biosphere and for the improvement of the overall relationship between people and their environment. It predicts the consequences of today’s actions on tomorrow’s world and thereby increases people’s ability to efficiently manage natural resources for the well-being of both human populations and the environment.

By focusing on sites internationally recognized within the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the MAB Programme strives to:

  • identify and assess the changes in the biosphere resulting from human and natural activities and the effects of these changes on humans and the environment, in particular in the context of climate change
  • study and compare the dynamic interrelationships between natural/near-natural ecosystems and socio-economic processes, in particular in the context of accelerated loss of biological and cultural diversity with unexpected consequences that impact the ability of ecosystems to continue to provide services critical for human well-being
  • ensure basic human welfare and a liveable environment in the context of rapid urbanization and energy consumption as drivers of environmental change
  • promote the exchange and transfer of knowledge on environmental problems and solutions, and to foster environmental education for sustainable development.

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