Biospheres are significant ecological areas that play a crucial role in building a robust relationship between humans and the environment they live in. Biosphere reserves came into existence in 1971 under UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Program. Apart from strengthening the relationship between people and their environment, the program also aims to develop a basis for the conservation of biological diversity and its sustainable use.
The Importance of Biosphere Reserves
With the ever-increasing population, sustainability of the environment is crucial. Natural resources have to be conserved. Economic development should be done in accordance with the biodiversity. Wild species remain protected in a biosphere reserve as the suitable environment enables them to survive. Urbanization is one of the major threats to wildlife, and it is these biosphere reserves which limit the human indulgence to prevent entire flora and fauna from becoming extinct.
Biospheres reserves are spread across the globe. There are 686 biosphere reserves in the world in 122 countries. Europe and North America are home to 287 biospheres spread across 36 countries. Asia and the Pacific have 147 biospheres in 24 countries, while there are 129 biospheres in 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Africa is home to 75 biosphere reserves in 28 countries, while the Arab states to 31 in 11 countries.
This year, Mozambique and Moldova got their first biosphere reserve, with one site was added in India. This year, seven sites withdrew their name from the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Five belonged to Australia, one belonged to the Netherlands, and one was from the USA.
Currently, Spain has the largest number of biosphere reserves in the world. The country has 49 Biosphere reserves, followed by the Russia at 45. Mexico, China and the United States occupy the 3rd, 4th and fifth position with 42, 34, and 29 biospheres.
The table below provides information on the number of biosphere reserves in each country.
|Country||No. of Biosphere Reserves|
|Republic of Korea||6|
|Democratic People’s Republic of Korea||5|
|Costa Rica (CRI)||4|
|Sri Lanka (LKA)||4|
|Burkina Faso (BFA)||3|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||3|
|El Salvador (SLV)||3|
|United Arab Emirates||2|
|Central African Republic||2|
|Côte d’Ivoire (CIV)||2|
|Guinea Bissau (GNB)||1|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||1|
|Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia||1|
|Sao Tome and Principe||1|