Biosphere reserves are learning sites for sustainable development. Most biosphere reserves (currently 669 in 120 countries) are internationally recognised under the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) in its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). Under the UNESCO Statutory Framework biosphere reserves fulfil three interconnected functions (UNESCO 1996):
- Conservation - contribute to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation;
- Development - foster economic and human development which is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable;
- Logistic support - support for demonstration projects, environmental education and training, research and monitoring related to local, regional, national and global issues of conservation and sustainable development.
We consider biosphere reserves a very integrative and holistic conservation approach that conforms well with the idea of ecosystem-based management and change adaptation. In our work with biosphere reserves we pursue a multi-stakeholder approach with particular emphasis on the involvement of local communities in planning and management. Further, biosphere reserves can play an important role for the realisation of transboundary biodiversity conservation as our projects in the Altai Mountains and the Korean Peninsula show.
Projects related to biosphere reserves: