A biosphere reserve is an area of land or water that is protected by law in order to support the conservation of ecosystems, as well as the sustainability of mankind’s impact on the environment. This means that each reserve aims to help scientists and the environmental community figure out how to protect the world’s plant and animal species while dealing with a growing population and its resource needs. These areas were created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under a program called Man and the Biosphere (MAB) in 1968. Since its creation, MAB has helped dozens of countries create biosphere reserves. In order to create a reserve, a country must suggest an area of land for the MAB to approve.
There are three main parts to a reserve. The first part is called the core zone, which is strongly protected for the conservation of biological diversity — to make sure that different types of plants and animals are safe from human impact. The second part is called a buffer zone, and surrounds the core zones and provide a space for environmental research, recreation, and tourism. The last part is called a transition zone, and this area is for local communities that have a hand in managing the resources of the area through farming, fisheries, and other non-governmental activities. Ultimately, the ways that these three zones operate depend on the specific needs of the biosphere reserve they are in.
Each reserve is governed by the country in which it resides, which allows each country or state to use the area for the region’s specific needs, making sure that every reserve is used wisely and for the benefit of the communities around it. As a result, each biosphere reserve has different laws and regulations about its maintenance.
There are many benefits to biosphere reserves. Not only can they help raise awareness of humankind’s impact on the environment, but they support local communities in the maintenance of the natural environment around them. They are also used for environmental recreation and education, meaning people can use the reserves to teach others about the environment, as well as use the land for nature activities, such as hiking and fishing. Reserves have also been quite helpful to scientists, because they create large areas of land for people to research plants, animals, and the overall conditions of the ecosystem.