The concept of Biosphere Reserves, as recognized by UNESCO since 1974, represents a significant milestone in humanity’s commitment to fostering harmony between people and the natural world. In this article, we will delve into the essence of Biosphere Reserves, understanding their pivotal role as “learning places for sustainable development.”
What is a Biosphere Reserve?
Biosphere Reserves, endorsed by UNESCO, serve as global hubs for interdisciplinary exploration of the intricate relationship between society and ecosystems. These reserves are at the forefront of testing innovative approaches to manage ecological and social systems, including conflict resolution and biodiversity preservation. They offer local solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
Biosphere Reserves encompass diverse landscapes, from terrestrial to marine and coastal ecosystems, each emphasizing the coexistence of biodiversity conservation and sustainable utilization.
Biosphere Reserves are designated by national governments and fall under the jurisdiction of the host countries. The Director General of UNESCO, following decisions by the MAB International Coordinating Council, grants international recognition to these reserves. Member States can propose sites for designation.
Evolution of Biosphere Reserves
Since their inception in 1976, Biosphere Reserves have evolved beyond protected areas. They now epitomize landscapes and seascapes dedicated to the pursuit of sustainable development principles and practices.
Requirements of a Biosphere Reserve
A Biosphere Reserve typically consists of three zones:
- Core Zones: These are protected natural areas dedicated to the preservation of biological diversity and ecosystems.
- Buffer Zones: Surrounding the core zones, these areas balance conservation with environmentally sustainable development.
- Transition Zones: Linking the Reserve with the wider landscape, these zones promote socioeconomic development while ensuring sustainable resource utilization.
To attain the Biosphere Reserve status, certain key components are essential
- Spatial Organization: A well-defined zoning system.
- Evolution Strategy: A dynamic action plan.
- Indicators: An evaluation system aligned with the MaB Program’s objectives.
- Management Body: An organization responsible for strategic planning and program execution.
Biosphere Reserves in Spain
Spain boasts a remarkable network of 53 Biosphere Reserves, distributed across 16 of its 17 autonomous communities. Among them are three cross-border reserves, one of which extends its influence across continents.
Below is the list of biosphere reserves in Spain, each one with a link to the relevant protected area information pages published here at Wildside Holidays. Remember that many of these areas have been previously declared as Natural or National parks before being incorporated into the much larger zones (hence two declaration dates for some biospheres, the first being the Natural Park declaration date).
Biosphere reserves in Andalucia
- Cabo de Gata – Nijar – Almería – 1997
- Doñana – Huelva y Sevilla – 1980
- Sierra Nevada – Granada – 1986, 2012
- Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y las Villas – Jaén – 1983
- Sierra de Grazalema – Malaga, Cádiz -1977
- Sierra de las Nieves – Málaga – 1995
- Dehesas de Sierra Morena – Huelva, Sevilla y Córdoba – 2002
- Marismas de Odiel – Huelva – 1983, 2018
Biosphere reserves in Asturias
- Somiedo – 2000
- Las Ubiñas la Mesa – 2012
- Picos de Europa – 2003
- Ponga – 2018
- Muniellos – 2000, 2003
- Redes – Asturias – 2001
- Rio Eo, Oscos y Terras de Burón – Galicia (Lugo) and Asturias – 2007
Biosphere reserves in Aragón
Ordesa – Viñamala – Huesca – 1977, 2013
Biosphere reserves in Castilla y Leon
- Babia – León – 2004
- El Alto Bernesga – León – 2005
- Los Argüellos – León – 2005
- Los Valles de Omaña y Luna – León – 2005, 2019
- Las Sierras de Béjar y Francia – León – 2006
- Los Ancares Leoneses – León – 2006
- Picos de Europa – 2003
- Valle de Laciana – León – Castilla y León – 2003
- Transfronteriza Meseta Ibérica – Zamora y Salamanca – (Castilla y León/España and Portugal) – 2015
- Real Sitio de San Idelfonso y El Espinar – Segovia – 2013
Biosphere reserves in Castilla la Mancha
- Mancha Húmeda – Ciudad Real, Cuenca y Toledo – 1980, 2014
- Valle del Cabriel – Albacete, Cuenca, Teruel, Valencia – 2019
Biosphere reserves in Cantabria
- Picos de Europa – 2003
Biosphere reserves in Cataluña
- Terres de L’Ebre – Tarragona – 2013 (Also Parque Natural del Massís dels Ports)
- Montseny – Barcelona y Girona – 1978, 2014
Biosphere reserves in Extremadura
- Monfragüe – Cáceres – 2003
- La Siberia – Badajoz – 2019
- Tajo tejo Internacional– Cáceres – (/España and Portugal) – 2016
Biosphere reserves in the Balearic islands
- Menorca – 1993, 2003, 2019
Biosphere reserves in the Canary islands
- El Hierro – Santa Cruz de Tenerife – 2000
- Fuerteventura – Las Palmas – 2009
- Gran Canaria – Las Palmas – 2005
- La Gomera – Santa Cruz de Tenerife – 2012
- La Palma – Santa Cruz de Tenerife – 1983, 2002
- Lanzarote – Las Palmas – 1993
- Macizo de Anaga – Santa Cruz de Tenerife – 2015
Biosphere reserves in Galicia
- Area de Allariz – Orense – 2005
- Los Ancares Lucenses y Montes de Cervantes, Navia y Becerrea – 2006
- Mariñas Coruñesas e Terras de Mandeo – A Coruña – 2013
- Terras de Miño – Lugo – Galicia – 2002
- Rio Eo, Oscos y Terras de Burón – Lugo y Asturias – (Galicia/Asturias) – 2007
- Transfronteriza Géres-Xurés – Orense – (Galicia-España and Portugal) – 2009
Biosphere reserves in La Rioja
Biosphere reserves in Madrid
Biosphere reserves in Navarra
- Bardenas Reales de Navarra – 2000
Biosphere reserves in País Vasco
Biosphere reserves in Valencian Community
Biosphere reserves Spain and Morocco
- Intercontinental del Mediterraneo – Morroco and Spain (Aguas intermedias) 2006
The official website detailing bio reserves in Spain is here: http://rerb.oapn.es/red-espanola-de-reservas-de-la-biosfera/reservas-de-la-biosfera-espanolas/listado
Biosphere Reserves stand as beacons of sustainable coexistence between humanity and nature. They exemplify our commitment to preserving our planet’s rich biodiversity while striving for equitable and fair living conditions. To learn more about these remarkable reserves and their contributions to global sustainability, explore our articles on individual Biosphere Reserves within Spain’s Network. Join us in this journey towards a more harmonious world.
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