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


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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    • "Among the objectives of the MAB Program is the integration of conservation and the economic use of ecosystems (Matysek et al., 2006). Bioko provides an opportunity for such integration because the island has a rich endemic fauna and flora but also a long history of extractive land use (Juste and Fa, 1994). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although the conversion of natural vegetation to agriculture threatens biodiversity, post-agricultural lands may provide an opportunity to preserve biodiversity if they are allowed to regenerate. We develop a framework for incorporating abandoned agricultural fields into the design of a Biosphere Reserve using former cocoa plantations on Bioko, Equatorial Guinea, as a case study. First, we used BIOCLIM to model the potential distribution of 62 ferns, 327 monocotyledons, 749 dicotyledons, seven primates, and 104 birds on Bioko. Next, we quantitatively assessed the representation of these distributions in conservation areas proposed by the Equatoguinean administration (hereafter “EPAs”). In addition, we used an area prioritization algorithm implemented in the ResNet software package to select an initial set of sites to serve as the Biosphere Reserve’s core areas, that is, intact forest in Bioko’s montane regions. Then, to augment the beta-diversity of the Reserve, we used the area prioritization algorithm to prioritize buffer zones in lowland sites including rainforest remnants and abandoned plantations that have partially regenerated to forest. We also compared the representation of biodiversity in the EPAs to its representation in Biosphere Reserves designed with ResNet. The representation of vegetation types and species in Reserves selected by ResNet that occupy 25% of the land on Bioko is equivalent to the representation achieved by the EPAs, which would cover 42% of Bioko. To conclude, we propose a conservation plan for Bioko.
    Biological Conservation 03/2010; 143(3-143):787-794. DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2009.12.022 · 3.76 Impact Factor
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    • "This Strategy emphasizes sustainable development through collaboration between community groups and sectors. Thus reserves may now extend further than concepts of ecosystems or national parks, and involve local private and public interests in collaborative land and water management (Price 1996), explicitly integrating ecological, social and economic goals (Brunckhorst 2000a; Matysek et al. 2006). The Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve (Vermont, USA) has been linked to bioregionalism through the experience of the Adirondack Park (Diffenderfer & Birch 1997; Klyza 1999) while other reserves cited as examples of bioregional planning include Xilingol (China), Mount Kulal and Amboseli (Kenya), Urdaibai (Spain), Bookmark (Australia), California Chaparral, Chichuahuan and Sonoran Deserts and several more in the USA (Brunckhorst 2000a). "
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    ABSTRACT: c1 Correspondence: Dr Sharron Pfueller Tel: +61 3 9905 4619 Fax: +61 3 9905 2948 e-mail:
    Environmental Conservation 05/2008; 35(02):173 - 186. DOI:10.1017/S0376892908004839 · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    • "Private land also offers greater flexibility for control of weeds and feral predators. The UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve model (Dyer and Holland 1991, Matysek et al. 2006) specifically recognises this, and advocates concentric bands of managed native vegetation surrounding a core of strict conservation areas, offering a model that integrates national parks and managed private land in conservation objectives. "
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    ABSTRACT: It is generally agreed that effective conservation requires the cooperation of private landholders to complement reserve-based efforts, but there is little agreement about how this can best be achieved. Various stakeholders lobby for tough regulations, for greater landholder freedom, and for incentives for activities or outcomes. A review of these alternatives suggests an emerging consensus that incentives are the most effective approach. Policy-makers should consider incentive-based approaches such as stewardship support to foster conservation outcomes on private lands.
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