UNESCO Welcome 25 New Biosphere Reserves
On the 28th October 25 New sites were added to the UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme including one transboundary biosphere. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves now numbers 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries around the globe.
Andorra, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Luxemburg and Trinidad and Tobago join the MAB Network this year with the designation of their first sites: Ordino Biosphere Reserve, Fogo and Maio Biosphere Reserves, Mwali Biosphere Reserve, Minett Biosphere Reserve and North-East Tobago Biosphere Reserve respectively.
Five New States
Ordino Biosphere Reserve (Andorra)
Located on the central axis of the eastern Pyrenees, in the north of Andorra, the Ordino Biosphere Reserve covers an area of 82.7 km². It presents a good sampling of the biological diversity. Traditional agriculture and herding have shaped the landscape, dominated in part by forests of Scots pine, fir, sessile oak and hook pine. Notable for the protection of a number of rare and endangered species on the IUCN Red List, Ordino is home to the great Tetra, emblematic of the Pyrenees, the bearded vulture and the Pyrenees lizard, and it is a hotspot for Lepidoptera (butterflies). The main driver of economic development in the region has been tourism, which is highly dependent on the quality of the natural environment and the conservation of heritage.
Fogo Biosphere Reserve (Cabo Verde)
The youngest and only volcanically active island in the south of the Cabo Verde archipelago, Fogo Biosphere Reserve culminates at an altitude of 2,829 metres. It is home to various indigenous species, such as birds and reptiles, including the rare endemic López-Jurado's Half-toed Gecko (Hemidactylus lopezjurado), Vaillant’s Mabuya (Chioninia vaillantii xanthotis) and marine turtles (Green turtle and Olive Ridley). It is home to over 37,000 inhabitants most of whom make a living from the cultivation of fruit, coffee, vegetables and vineyards famous for their volcanic terroir.
Almaty Biosphere Reserve (Kazakhstan)
The Almaty Biosphere Reserve is located on the Zailiysky Alatau ridge, on the watershed of several river basins featuring a number of lakes. Its wild fruit forests, predominantly consisting of wild apple trees, are home to diverse fauna, including 177 bird and almost 1,000 insect species. Well over 1,000 species of plants are protected in the biosphere reserve, and 2,300 animal species have been documented. It is a popular recreational area for city dwellers from the entire region. The biosphere reserve aims to develop eco-tourism, as well as sustainable animal husbandry and agriculture, which are major sources of income in the area.
Minett Biosphere Reserve (Luxembourg)
Located in densely populated southern Luxembourg and bordering France, the biosphere reservehas the country’s second largest concentration of inhabitants and employment after the capital. It is home to more than 171,000 inhabitants, nearly one third of Luxembourg’s population concentrated over 200 km², approximately 10% of the country. The region has a long tradition of hospitality towards immigrants resulting in a multicultural, dynamic and cosmopolitan population of over 150 nationalities. Formerly a mining area, most of the mines in the biosphere reserve have been reclaimed by vegetation, creating a great variety of natural habitats.
North-East Tobago Biosphere Reserve (Trinidad and Tobago)
The North-East Tobago Biosphere Reserve presents a rare largely intact Caribbean Island Ridge-to-Ocean ecosystem that includes the world’s oldest tropical rainforest reserve, the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve, established in 1776. It encompasses 83,488 ha, with a marine area of 68,384 ha that is home to coral reefs and mangroves. Overall, 1,774 species have been recorded in its 19 habitat types and it is home to globally unique and endangered plants and animals including 83 IUCN Red List species and 41 endemic species. By joining the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the community aims to revitalize cultural and spiritual bonds between people and nature and boost the preservation of this fragile and remarkable human and natural landscape.