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BiospHere Reserves

  • By: Maureen G. Reed
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Biosphere reserves are geographic areas recognized by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and intended to demonstrate how people can live and work in harmony with the natural environment. Prior to designation, these areas are subject to strict scrutiny by UNESCO. Advocates for biosphere reserve status must demonstrate the special ecological, cultural, and social characteristics of the local areas. Although certain locations within a biosphere reserve area may be subject to national or subnational legislation, there is no new regulation imposed by the recognition of the region by UNESCO.

Initially conceived in the 1960s, the first biosphere reserves were created in 1976 under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere program established in 1971. Indeed, many reserves were created in the 1970s. After a quiet ...

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