Biosphere resources

Biosphere resources (LAWUNIVERSITY)

Mountain environments cover some 27 percent of the world's land surface and support 22 percent of the world's population. Over 26.5 thousand national protected areas (PAs) and internationally designated sites preserve mountain ecosystems biodiversity worldwide, including 10.5 thousand European sites.
According to the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), there are 1879 national parks (NP) and 300 biosphere reserves (BR) in the world, where mountain ecosystems are present. There are 162 such NP and 88 BR in Europe.
Global statistic identified that the coverage of protected areas in mountainous regions is higher than average for terrestrial environment and is gradually increasing. This general positive message may not be entirely sufficient for decision-making because of the complexity of PA systems, e.g. overlaps of the sites established by different national agencies or by different international initiatives.
Conservation regimes within national parks and biosphere reserve zones may also vary considerably. Large mountain reserves may include waste areas of barren lands and only limited parcels of productive key habitats.
These factors may lead to overestimation of the total coverage or exaggeration of sufficiency of PAs support towards long-term ecosystems sustainability. It is particularly relevant to highly mosaic mountainous environment where humans and wildlife often compete for resources concentrated in rather narrow localities.
In these circumstances both territorial design of the new PAs may be affected and effective site management become complicated. Biosphere reserves system and conservationists working in BRs provide invaluable contribution to inventory, assessment, monitoring of biodiversity and other valuable resources contained within and preserved by BRs.
They also play a major role in communicating this knowledge to the decision makers, local communities and broader audience. Further optimisation of PA networks depends on the ability to apply site-level knowledge in a broader (ecological zones, national, regional or global) context.
Weighting the uniqueness or relative representation of valuable resources preserved within PAs against abundance or extent of similar features outside of protected areas allows identification of new sites in need of protection. It also provides additional justifications for resource allocation towards an effective management of existing PAs.
Methods allowing cross-referencing and analytical interpretation of information on biodiversity held within individual PAs and PA networks, ecologically defined regions or administrative units, countries and broader regions have been elaborated within a number of global and regional gap analyses studies, Pan-European Ecological Network study and within similar sub-regional projects.

Man & Biosphere ProgrammeGlobal network of internationally recognised ecosystems designated as biosphere reserves, currently numbering 507 sites in 102 countries. Reserves exist in all countries served by Star Alliance airlines, and in many they include World Heritage Sites and Ramsar Wetlands.

The World Conservation Union – IUCN

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) brings together governments, more than 800 NGOS, and 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. Created in 1948 and supported by 1,000 staff in more than 60 countries, IUCN is the world’s largest environmental network for dialogue,science and action on sustainable development.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Designated Wetlands of International Importance – over 1,600 wetland sites, covering over 150 million hectares recognised under the Ramsar Convention – an inter-governmental treaty signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971 with over 150 member countries. More sites are added almost daily, and new countries are joining as well.