Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

and the Biosphere
Programme -
addressing forest

P. Bridgewater

Peter Bridgewater is the Secretary of
UNESCO's MAB Programme.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), by the nature of its focus, has an integrated approach to issues related to land and water management. UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme has over its 30 years of existence developed the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, designed to serve as "living laboratories" for integrated work in three areas: conservation of the full hierarchy of biodiversity, economic development that is socio-culturally and ecologically sensitive, and logistic support to research, monitoring, education and information exchange. A zonation system consisting of a core area, a buffer zone and a transition area is applied to accommodate different types and intensities of human use. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves is now formally recognized and is an operational structure for facilitating exchange of information and new ideas and for training and awareness-raising. As of January 2002, there were 411 biosphere reserves located in 94 countries around the world, of which about one-fifth (corresponding to over 150 millon hectares) consist predominantly of forest systems.

The World Network of Biosphere Reserves addresses forest biodiversity in a number of ways:

In summary, the World Network for Biosphere Reserves is an operational structure for promoting action and exchange of experience in the conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing of forest biodiversity. It thus helps countries to meet their obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

More information on the MAB Programme and the World Network of Biosphere Reserves can be obtained on the Internet ( or from the Division of Ecological Sciences, UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex, France; Fax +33 1 4568-5804.

Biosphere reserves: special places for people and nature


Previous PageTop Of PageNext Page