Topic: GS3 – environmental conservation.
What are biosphere reserves?
- Biosphere reserves are areas of land and coastal environments where people and nature live together in a balanced relationship.
- They are designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to promote the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable development, and research.
- There are currently 748 biosphere reserves across 134 countries.
World Biosphere Reserve Day:
- Celebrated on November 3 each year to raise awareness of the importance of biosphere reserves and promote their conservation and sustainable use.
Why are biosphere reserves important?
- Biosphere reserves are vital for the future of our planet.
- They are home to a wide variety of ecosystems and provide habitat for countless unique and endangered plants and animals species.
- They also play a vital role in the protection of biodiversity and ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources.
- In recent years, biosphere reserves have become crucial in our fight against climate change.
Examples of biosphere reserves
- Island of Principe Biosphere Reserve, Sao Tome and Principe in Africa
- Sundarban Biosphere Reserve in India
- Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve in India
Conservation efforts at the local level
- Local communities in biosphere reserves are working together to manage natural resources sustainably and protect biodiversity.
- For example, in the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, local communities are working together to manage mangrove forests.
- In the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, local communities, including women, are contributing towards conservation efforts by forming self-help groups.
Threats to biosphere reserves
- Biosphere reserves are threatened by deforestation, invasive species, and land use changes such as mining.
- With increasing urbanization and constant growth of the world population, exploitation by humans is ever increasing.
10th South and Central Asian Biosphere Reserve Network Meeting (SACAM)
- The 10th SACAM was held in Chennai, India,from November 1-3.
- The theme of the meeting was “Ridge to Reef.”
- The meeting provided a platform for exchanging knowledge and fostering collaborations in the realm of sustainable environmental practices in the South and Central Asia Region.
- Biosphere reserves are oases of hope in a troubled world.
- They are essential for the protection of our planet’s biodiversity and for our fight against climate change.
- We must all do our part to conserve biosphere reserves and to promote their sustainable use.
Question: Critically examine the role of biosphere reserves in sustainable development and climate change mitigation. Discuss the challenges faced by biosphere reserves in India and suggest measures to overcome them.