Article

The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Program in Australia: constraints and opportunities for localized sustainable development

Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien (Impact Factor: 0.56). 02/2006; 50(1):85 - 100. DOI: 10.1111/j.0008-3658.2006.00128.x

ABSTRACT Since their creation under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program in 1976, biosphere reserves have provided an international framework for linking protected areas with their associated working landscapes. In Australia, twelve biosphere reserves were added to the World Network between 1977 and 1982. That initial flurry of activity has been followed by twenty-five years of limited interest and development in biosphere reserves in this country, although evidence suggests that new energies are being directed to it. After sketching the origins of the biosphere reserve concept and its central tenets, we explore those environmental, cultural and institutional factors that may be promoting renewed interest in the program. We then review the initial implementation and current status of the Australian Biosphere Reserve Program. Factors supporting the limited success that exists in the program in Australia are highlighted, and the new form of biosphere reserve is illustrated with reference to Australia's recent and only urban biosphere reserve, at the Mornington Peninsula, in the state of Victoria. We speculate that prospects for biosphere reserves in Australia are brighter because of the provision for biosphere reserves under the Commonwealth of Australia's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (DEH 1999), the conceptual relevance of the biosphere reserve to bioregional and catchment management more generally and the continued success of existing model biosphere reserves.Avec leur création en 1976 par l'Organization des Nations Unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture (UNESCO) et le Programme l'Homme et la Biosphère (MAB), les réserves de biosphère ont permis de mettre en place un cadre international pour établir un lien entre les zones protégées et les paysages humanisés auxquels elles sont associées. En Australie, douze réserves de biosphère se sont ajoutées au Réseau mondial entre 1977 et 1982. Suite à cette forte poussée des activités au tout début, un faible d'intér?t a été accordé aux réserves de biosphère qui ont peu évolué dans ce pays au cours des vingt-cinq années qui ont suivi. Pourtant, selon les dernières informations obtenues, elles connaissent un regain de vigueur. Nous présentons d'abord un aperçu du concept de la réserve de biosphère et des grands principes qui le sous-tendent et étudions les facteurs environnementaux, culturels et institutionnels influants qui suscitent un nouvel intér?t pour le Programme. Par la suite, nous évaluons la mise en œuvre initiale et l'état actuel du Programme de l'Australie sur les réserves de biosphère. Les facteurs qui soutiennent la réussite mitigée du Programme de l'Australie sont identifiés et la nouvelle forme de réserve de la biosphère est illustrée par une présentation de la seule réserve de biosphère urbaine en Australie, située sur la péninsule Mornington dans l'état de Victoria. Nous émettons l'hypothèse que l'avenir des réserves de biosphère en Australie est plus brillant grâce à: la disposition en matière de réserves de biosphère dans la Loi australienne de 1999 sur la protection de l'environnement et la conservation de la biodiversité; de façon plus générale, la pertinence conceptuelle de la réserve de biosphère pour la gestion biorégionale et hydrographique; et la réussite soutenue des réserves de biosphère-type existantes.

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