Sunday, February 10, 2008

Man and the Biosphere and Biosphere Researves

The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program is one of UNESCO's most important scientific programs. It also seems to be one of the most misunderstood by certain factions within the United States. The worldwide network of bioresearves that has been created under the program provides a global network of living laboratories where mankind is learning to preserve and protect our biological resources, while using them in a sustainable fashion.

There is an old saying:
The history of civilization is written in shifting sands.
Many civilizations have risen and then fallen, and sometimes we can barely find their remains because they are covered in desert sands. Increasingly, evidence is gathering that the fall of civilizations often came when their demands on their environment exceeded what those environments could sustainably provide. Sometimes, the failure was due to a series of bad years, as do occur everywhere, which the society could no longer survive. Sometimes a new society with a better way to sustainably exploit the environmental resources was able to reclaim the land once lost, and sometimes not.

All responsible scientists agree that prudence demands that mankind learn how to better manage our environment to assure our civilization now and in the future is sustainable. Globalization, and the increasing ability of mankind to change our environment have resulted in a situation in which the concern for the environment is global, and not simply that of the local environment of a regionally constrained society.

The MAB program involves networks a global community of scientists studying sustainable development in a wide variety of ecosystems. There is a distinguished team of scientists forming the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Committee, including people serving on key government agencies. Indeed, the Department of State continued to fund U.S. researchers on Man and the Biosphere during the years in which we were not members of UNESCO.

The Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve is a partnership of
13 protected areas in the greater San Francisco Bay area.

Of special interest is the network of 243 Biosphere Reserves in 33 countries, which are sites that are selected by a peer review process for long term research and analysis. Here is a list of the 47 bioreserves nominated by the U.S. government and approved for inclusion in the network. Most, you will note, are either national parks, national forests, or other protected, government-owned sites.

Bioreserve Date of Approval
Aleutian Islands 1976
Big Bend 1976
Cascade Head 1976
Central Plains 1976
Channel Islands 1976
Coram 1976
Denali 1976
Desert 1976
Everglades & Dry Tortugas 1976
Fraser 1976
Glacier 1976
H.J. Andrews 1976
Hubbard Brook 1976
Jornada 1976
Luquillo 1976
Noatak 1976
Olympic 1976
Organ Pipe Cactus 1976
Rocky Mountain 1976
San Dimas 1976
San Joaquin 1976
Sequoia-Kings Canyon 1976
Stanislaus-Tuolumne 1976
Three Sisters 1976
Virgin Islands 1976
Yellowstone 1976
Beaver Creek 1976
Konza Prairie 1978
Niwot Ridge 1979
University of Michigan Biological Station 1979
Virginia Coast 1979
Hawaiian Islands 1980
Isle Royale 1980
Big Thicket 1981
Guanica 1981
California Coast Ranges 1983
Central Gulf Coast Plain 1983
South Atlantic Coastal Plain 1983
Mojave and Colorado Deserts 1984
Carolinian-South Atlantic 1986
Glacier Bay-Admiralty Is. 1986
Golden Gate 1988
New Jersey Pinelands 1988
Southern Appalachian 1988
Champlain-Adirondak 1989
Mammoth Cave Area 1990
Land Between The Lakes Area 1991

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