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Biosphere Reserves

World Networks of Biosphere Reserves.

Biosphere Reserve IllustrationBiosphere reserves are globally designated and recognized areas by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme. Biosphere Reserves (BR) are sites established by countries and recognized under UNESCO’s MAB programme to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and scientific data. Biosphere reserves have three primary main roles:
i. promotion and conservation of biodiversity;
ii. advocating for sustainable development and enhancement of ecosystem services by connecting people and nature; and
iii. research and education in different ecosystems.

Biosphere reserves achieve their roles by advocating for interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes resulting from social and ecological systems. It expressly calls for the involvement of local communities and all interested stakeholders in planning and management. Additionally, the sites support mitigation and adaptation to climate change and other aspects of global environmental change.

Biospheres consist of three zones:

1. Core Area

A strictly protected zone that contributes to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species, and genetic variation.
2. Buffer Zone:

This surrounds or adjoins the core area(s) and is used for activities compatible with sound ecological practices that can reinforce scientific research, monitoring, training, and education.
3. Transition Area

This is where communities foster socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable economic and human activities.

Kenya hosts six biosphere reserves namely: Mt. Kenya – Lewa Conservancy; Mt. Kulal, Arabuko-Sokoke; Kiunga; Amboseli; and Mt. Elgon Transboundary Biosphere reserve, that straddles between Kenya and Uganda.

Currently, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) has 738 biosphere reserves in 134 countries, including 22 transboundary sites. The UNESCO MAB regional network for Africa (AfriMAB), was established in 1996 and covers sub-Saharan Africa. The AfriMAB Network has provided opportunities for information exchange and capacity building across the network.

Biosphere Reserves in Kenya

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