UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program (MAB)
This article follows up: Protected areas - overview and division
Established in 1971, the UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) program is an intergovernmental scientific program designed to create a scientific basis for improving relationships between people and their environment. The MaB program combines the knowledge of the natural sciences and the social sciences, creating the basis for a rational and sustainable exploitation of the biosphere resources, with the simultaneous protection of natural ecosystems and man-made landscape.
In practice, the MAB program is implemented through a system of biosphere reserves. These areas are representative examples of cultural and natural landscapes, where man and his activities play an important role. Most biosphere reserves include both a nature close territory and an area disturbed by human activity. This makes it possible to study conflicts between man and the natural environment and to increase of biodiversity in disturbed areas.
The world biosphere reserve network includes 701 sites in 124 countries around the world, including 21 cross-border sites (year 2019).
Each biosphere reserve has three basic functions:
- protection of biodiversity, ecosystems and landscape
- sustainable economic and socio-economic development of the local population
- promoting science, research and education with an emphasis on building partnerships at local, regional and international level
In Slovakia, four biosphere reserves are included in the MAB program:
Slovenský kras (Slovak karst)
Východné Karpaty (Eastern Carpathians)
All four biosphere reserves are at the same time protected areas - 2 are national parks (Tatras - Tatra National Park, Slovak Karst) and 2 are protected landscape areas (Eastern Carpathians, Poľana).
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