UNESCO Biosphere Extensions and Re-namings
Fitzgerald Biosphere Reserve—extension and renaming of the former Fitzgerald River National Park Biosphere Reserve (Australia) – Located in the state of Western Australia, this biosphere reserve was originally designated in 1978. With its extension, the reserve will now cover a total surface area of 1,530,000 ha. The main ecosystems represented are forests, river basins, small mountain ranges, wetlands and estuaries.
Central Balkan Biosphere Reserve (Bulgaria)—Located in the centre of the country, this new reserve encompasses four existing biosphere reserves: Steneto, Tsaritchina, Djendema and Boatin, all designated in 1977. The new reserve includes the Central Balkan national park and contains rare and endangered wildlife species. It contains the most important old beech forest massif in the country (71% of the national park). The main activities include transhumance, grazing and hiking tourism. The total area of the reserve is 369,000 ha with a population of 129,600 inhabitants.
Uzunbudzhak Biosphere Reserve (Bulgaria)—About 3,700 people live on this site, which has a surface area of 78,425 ha, and was designated a biosphere reserve in 1977. The landscape is among the most representative of Europe, with temperate forests with evergreen laurel undergrowth. It includes the Strandja National Park, which is very rich in biodiversity, and karst caves.
Chervenata Stena Biosphere Reserve (Bulgaria)—Designated in 1977, the biosphere reserve will now cover a surface area of 65,409 ha with the extension. Located in the south Bulgarian mountains, it contains mid-mountainous forest landscapes as well as high mountain meadows. The main activities of reserve’s 60,000 inhabitants include organic agriculture, stockbreeding and eco-tourism.
Srébarna Biosphere Reserve (Bulgaria)—Originally designated in 1977, the biosphere reserve is located in the northeast of the country and covers a surface area of 52,000 ha with a population of 61,365. It has high biodiversity. The existing biosphere reserve has been extended to include the municipality of Silistra, which hosts numerous cultural events and traditional festivals.
Meggido Biosphere Reserve (Israel)—Renaming of Ramot Menashe Biosphere Reserve.
Manu Biosphere Reserve (Peru)—Designated in 1977, the biosphere reserve is located between the regions of Cusco and Madre de Dios. It has a large diversity of ecosystems, ranging from high grasslands to tropical rainforests and cloud forests. It contains almost all the ecosystems, flora and fauna of the Peruvian Amazon. With this extension, the area of the reserve is increased from 1,881,200 ha to 2,438,956 ha.
Masurian Lakes Biosphere Reserve (Poland) – Extension and renaming of the former biosphere reserve of Lake Luknajno—The biosphere reserve, originally designated in 1976, is located in northern Poland. With an original surface area of 1,400 ha, it now covers 58,693 ha and is home to a population of nearly 8,300 people.
Marismas del Odiel Biosphere Reserve (Spain)—Designated in 1983, the biosphere reserve is located in the Gulf of Cadiz, in the southwestern part of the Iberian Peninsula. The surface area of the site has been increased from 7,158 ha to 18,875 ha and is home to a population of 33,700. The biosphere reserve occupies the mouth of the Odiel River, in the province of Huelva, as well as a coastal fringe.
Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve (Tanzania)—Designated in 1981, the biosphere reserve is located in the East African Rift Valley. It has a surface area of 346,741 ha and a population of over 257,000 inhabitants. It includes the Lake Manyara National Park and Burunge Wildlife Conservation Area and has a history of Maasai pastoralist presence dating to the 18th century. It is home to many animal species such as the spotted hyena, hippopotamus and the common genet, as well as several threatened species.
Serengeti-Ngorongoro Biosphere Reserve (Tanzania)—The biosphere reserve covers a surface area of 4,397,314 ha and was originally designated in 1981. It includes the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the north of Tanzania. It supports about 1.5 million wildebeest, 900,000 Thompson gazelle and 300,000 zebra. Topis, giraffes, black rhino, antelopes and primates are also well represented. The large herbivores support five main predator species including lions, leopards, cheetahs, spotted hyenas and wild dogs. The reserve is also home to the indigenous Maasai people (shown above) . It has a fast-growing tourist industry.
East Usambara Biosphere Reserve (Tanzania)—The site, designated in 2000, is representative of forest ecosystems, and includes fragments of tropical forests and forms part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, one of 35 global biodiversity hotspots. The mountains constitute an important water source for neighbouring communities and the city of Tanga. With a surface area of 83,994 ha and a population of 184,253, this biosphere reserve is home to endemic species such as the Usambara eagle owl, the Usambara weaver and the African violet.
The two Brazilian biosphere reserves of São Paulo Green Belt and Mata Atlântica, which were until now joined under the name of Mata Atlântica, are hitherto to be considered as two distinct biosphere reserves.
photos courtesy of UNESCO