UNESCO Adds New Biosphere Reserves

ENVIRONMENT

New additions bring the total number of biosphere reserves to 669 sites in 120 countries. (UNESCO)

Where are the newest reserves? What is UNESCO? What is a biosphere reserve? Use our resources to find out.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit, including a link to today’s MapMaker Interactive map.

Click to enlarge this map! UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere program boasts 669 sites around the world.

Click to enlarge this map! UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere program boasts 669 sites around the world.

Discussion Ideas

  • UNESCO recently added new sites to its network of 669 biosphere reserves. What is UNESCO? Take a look at our short encyclopedic entry for some help.
    • UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations: the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. UNESCO’s mission statement is “to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development, and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication, and information.”
      • UNESCO’s programs are divided into five major sectors: Education; Natural Sciences; Social and Human Sciences; Culture; and Communications and Information.
      • UNESCO focuses its programs on two global priorities: Africa and gender equality.

 

  • What is the biosphere? Take a look through our short encyclopedic entry for some help.
    • The biosphere is nothing less than the zone of all life on Earth, a collection of every known ecosystem on the planet. Although hardy organisms thrive in our planet’s harshest highs and lows, the bulk of the biosphere exists between about 500 meters (1,640 feet) below the ocean’s surface to about 6 kilometers (3.75 miles) above sea level.

 

  • What is a biosphere reserve?
    • UNESCO biosphere reserves are part of the organization’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. As the name “Man and the Biosphere” indicates, the program focuses on sustainable development—human construction, growth, and consumption that can be maintained with minimal damage to the natural environment.
    • Biosphere reserves are “areas comprising terrestrial, marine, and coastal ecosystems. Each reserve promotes solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use.”

 

Where are UNESCO’s newest biosphere reserves?

Where are UNESCO’s newest biosphere reserves?

 

  • According to our encyclopedic entry, UNESCO organizes its 193 member countries into five regional groups: Africa; Arab states; Asia and the Pacific; Europe and North America; and Latin America. Take a look at the map at the top of this entry. What regional groups have the most established biosphere reserves?
    • Europe and North America boast the largest number of biosphere reserves, at 297. This region also has the most number of participating countries, at 36.
      • Asia and the Pacific has the second-largest number of biosphere reserves, while Africa has the second-largest number of participating countries.
      • Why do you think the developed economies of Europe and North America have the most biosphere reserves?

 

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

UNESCO: 20 sites added to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserve

Nat Geo: Where are UNESCO’s newest biosphere reserves? MapMaker Interactive map

Nat Geo: What is UNESCO?

Nat Geo: What is the biosphere?

Nat Geo: Do-It-Yourself Bioblitz video

UNESCO: Ecological Sciences for Sustainable Development—Biosphere Reserves – Learning Sites for Sustainable Development

One response to “UNESCO Adds New Biosphere Reserves

  1. Pingback: High North News – Canada’s First UNESCO International Biosphere North of 60·

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