“This is really a program for people, because people are part of nature … so they are integrated into both conservation and sustainable use of natural resources,” said Miguel Clusener Godt, Secretary of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). ).
Today, 727 biosphere reserves unite nature protection and sustainable development in 131 countries, including 22 transboundary facilities.
There are 86 sites in 31 countries in Africa; 35 sites in Arab countries, 14 countries; 168 sites in 40 countries in Asia and the Pacific; 306 sites in 24 countries in Europe and North America; and 132 sites in 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
If these reserves were combined, according to Godta, they would be about five percent of the earth’s surface, covering 6,812,000 km², about the size of Australia.
Tanzania’s Gombe Masito Ugalla Biosphere Reserve’s diverse vegetation and unique fauna also host the country’s largest chimpanzee community, which includes Gombe National Park, forest land resources and part of Lake Tanganyika.
Wildlife species in the region include African elephants, ornamental frogs and eight primate species.
Flora has been discovered and named Gombe, and the biodiversity of Lake Tanganyika includes more than 300 fish, 250 species of birds and reptiles from Tanganyika, such as cobras and water snakes.
Asia and the Pacific
Maolan in China was classified as a biosphere reserve in 1996. It is located in Qiannan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefectures in Quizhou Province and covers an area of 20,000 hectares with 88.61% forest cover.
Pheasants, orchids and magnolias are also rich in biodiversity, known for their “embracing trees” that cling to the rocks of the mountain landscape.
Indigenous peoples Yao, Buyi and Shui value the environment of their regions and live in harmony with nature. Because trees provide them with vital resources, for more than 1,000 years, local communities have held ceremonies and rituals to care for the trees.
Located on the western slope of the Lebanese mountain range and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the 6,500-hectare Jabal Musa Biosphere Reserve encompasses Mount Musa and its seven villages, an important destination for Christian pilgrims.
The centuries-old landscape of Jabal Musa hides traces of a region at the crossroads of civilizations that archaeologists have yet to discover.
Located just 40 km northeast of Beirut, the biosphere reserve is three times larger than the city and, together with the Chouf and Gibraltar-Rihane biosphere reserves, forms an ecological corridor along the Lebanese mountain range.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Located in southeastern Uruguay, Bañados del Este is home to a remarkable ecosystem complex, including white sandy beaches, dunes and lagoons along the Atlantic coast, and hosts a wide variety of wildlife that remains virtually untouched both on land and at sea.
The Biosphere Reserve covers 12,500 km² of Uruguay’s east coast and is also home to the province’s highest peak, the Cathedral of Cerro.
Hidden among the sand dunes, this tourist destination is one of the most popular places in this biosphere reserve and is the perfect place to connect with nature. Due to its remoteness, there is no connection to the local network or landlines, but the local population has access to mobile networks and the Internet.
In Spain, the transition to clean energy in the El Hierro Biosphere Reserve demonstrates a sustained effort to live in harmony with nature.
The biosphere reserve covers the entire island and some of its waters. El Hierro aims to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.
At least 2,604 species of flora and fauna have been recorded on the island, and the reserve is home to marine mammal species.