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By Colleen Curry

The United Nations has designated 23 new sites around the world to its World Network of Biosphere reserves—stunning natural landscapes that balance environmental and human concerns and strive for sustainability.

The forests, beaches and waterways were added to the list this year at the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme meeting in Paris earlier this month.

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Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Wikipedia

The U.S. has quietly withdrawn 17 sites from the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves program.

As first reported by National Geographic, the sites include a number of national forests, preserves and reserves from Alaska to the Virgin Islands (see list below). There were previously 47 biosphere reserves in the U.S.

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