The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Program in Australia: constraints and opportunities for localized sustainable development
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.
SourceAvailable from: Amma Buckley
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ABSTRACT: The Niagara Escarpment is one of Southern Ontario's most important landscapes. Due to the nature of the landform and its location, the Escarpment is subject to various development pressures including urban expansion, mineral resource extraction, agricultural practices and recreation. In 1985, Canada's first large scale environmentally based land use plan was put in place to ensure that only development that is compatible with the Escarpment occurred within the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP). The southern extent of the NEP is of particular interest in this study, since a portion of the Plan is located within the rapidly expanding Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The Plan area located in the Regional Municipalities of Hamilton and Halton represent both urban and rural geographical areas respectively, and are both experiencing development pressures and subsequent changes in land cover. Monitoring initiatives on the NEP have been established, but have done little to identify consistent techniques for monitoring land cover on the Niagara Escarpment. Land cover information is an important part of planning and environmental monitoring initiatives. Remote sensing has the potential to provide frequent and accurate land cover information over various spatial scales. The goal of this research was to examine land cover change in the Regional Municipalities of Hamilton and Halton portions of the NEP. This was achieved through the creation of land cover maps for each region using Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) remotely sensed data. These maps aided in determining the qualitative and quantitative changes that had occurred in the Plan area over a 20 year time period from 1986 to 2006. Change was also examined based on the NEP's land use designations, to determine if the Plan policy has been effective in protecting the Escarpment. To obtain land cover maps, five different supervised classification methods were explored: Minimum Distance, Mahalanobis Distance, Maximum Likelihood, Object-oriented and Support Vector Machine. Seven land cover classes were mapped (forest, water, recreation, bare agricultural fields, vegetated agricultural fields, urban and mineral resource extraction areas) at a regional scale. SVM proved most successful at mapping land cover on the Escarpment, providing classification maps with an average accuracy of 86.7%. Land cover change analysis showed promising results with an increase in the forested class and only slight increases to the urban and mineral resource extraction classes. Negatively, there was a decrease in agricultural land overall. An examination of land cover change based on the NEP land use designations showed little change, other than change that is regulated under Plan policies, proving the success of the NEP for protecting vital Escarpment lands insofar as this can be revealed through remote sensing. Land cover should be monitored in the NEP consistently over time to ensure changes in the Plan area are compatible with the Niagara Escarpment. Remote sensing is a tool that can provide this information to the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) in a timely, comprehensive and cost-effective way. The information gained from remotely sensed data can aid in environmental monitoring and policy planning into the future.
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ABSTRACT: UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) was established in 1968. Since then, its flagship project has been the designation a worldwide network of multi-functional biosphere reserves (BRs). Australia has 15, and one of the more recent is the Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve (MPWPBR, 2002), located in the peri-urban region to the south of metropolitan Melbourne. It is subject to a range of pressures. The paper examines these and explores the lost opportunities represented by the limited stature of BR status in Victoria. A particular focus is the current State government's pro-growth policy which involves relaxing controls on outer suburban residential expansion and the encouragement of freeway construction. These have major implications for the MPWPBR.Australian Geographer 12/2009; 40(4):409-427. DOI:10.1080/00049180903312638 · 0.69 Impact Factor