UNESCO MAB Session Adds 12 Sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves
30 May 2013: The 25th Session of the International Co-ordinating Council (ICC) of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme has added 12 sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Biosphere Reserves are sites chosen by the MAB Programme to experiment with different approaches to the management of terrestrial, marine and coastal resources, and freshwater. They also serve as in situ laboratories for sustainable development.
The additions bring the total number of biosphere reserves to 621 in 117 countries. The session took place at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, from 27-30 May 2013.
The new Reserves include: Alakol (Kazakhstan), a reserve that includes wetlands of world significance and is an important Indian bird migration route, a water bird habitat and aggregation site; Gochang (the Republic of Korea), which is composed of forest, coastal and freshwater ecosystems, and provides a major stopover site for migratory birds; Great Nicobar (India), an island that is characterized by tropical wet evergreen forest that is home to 1,800 animal species and to the indigenous Shompen people and the Nicobarese; Macizo de Cajas (Ecuador), which includes the Las Cajas National Park and the Quimsacocha National Recreational Area that play an important role in water provision and regulation; Marais Audomarois (France), which includes a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance; Mariñas Coruñesas e Terras do Mandeo (Spain), which includes two main river watersheds, Mero and Mandeo, and contains ecosystems from coastal zones to mountain regions with high biodiversity; Mont-Viso (France), a glacial cirque surrounded by river valleys and high altitude lakes with a dry and sunny climate; Monte-Viso Area della Biosfera del Monviso (Italy), which encompasses the Monviso Mountain, the Alevè Forest and the Po River basin; Real Sitio de San Ildefonso-El Espinar (Spain), an important woodland area; Snake Island, Laotie Mountain, (China), which provides shelter to 307 bird species and a migration stopover for ten million birds; Terres de l'Ebre, Catalonia (Spain), which includes the delta and watershed of the Ebro River; Ziarat Juniper Forest (Pakistan), which encompasses Pakistan's largest Juniper forest. [Videos of the new reserves] [ICC Meeting Website] [Photos of the 2013 Biosphere Reserves] [MAB Programme Website] [UNESCO Press Release]