11 Stunning Photos of the World's Newest Biosphere Reserves
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.
The Biosphere Reserves are places that try to reconcile biodiversity, conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources, according to the UN. The choices are made by representatives from 34 UNESCO members. Here are some of the stunning choices from this year's additions:
Mono Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Benin/Togo)
This transboundary biosphere reserve is composed of mangroves, savannah, lagoons and flood plains, as well as forests, and is home to two million inhabitants whose main activity is small-scale farming (palm oil and coconuts), livestock grazing, forestry and fishing.
Moen Biosphere Reserve (Denmark)
This reserve is a series of islands and islets in the southern Baltic Sea, with woodlands, grasslands, meadows, wetlands, coastal areas, ponds and steep hills. There are small villages and scattered farms with a total population of about 10,250.
Savegre Biosphere Reserve (Costa Rica)
This Pacific coast site holds 20 percent of the total flora of the country, 54 percent of its mammals and 59 percent of its birds, according to the UN. It has approximately 50,000 inhabitants, whose main activities are agriculture and livestock rearing.
La Selle/Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo (Dominican Rep./Haiti)
This reserve straddles the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, allowing ecological corridors between the two nations.
Bosques de Paz Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Ecuador/Peru)
The foothills of the Andes are a "biodiversity hotspot" according to the UN, including dry forests, altitudes reaching up to 3,000 meters, and 59 endemic species, of which 14 are threatened.
Majang Forest Biosphere Reserve (Ethiopia)
The Afromontane forests are found in one of the most threatened regions in the world, along with wetlands and marshes flourishing with biodiversity, including 550 higher plant species, 33 species of mammal and 130 bird species.
Black Forest Biosphere Reserve (Germany)
The low mountain ranges, forests, meadows and lowland moors of the Black Forest reserve is almost 70 percent forested. There are some 38,000 inhabitants and a culture of sustainable tourism.
San Marcos de Colón Biosphere Reserve (Honduras)
This site hosts thriving biodiversity as well as flower, fruit, and coffee production.
Minakami Biosphere Reserve (Japan)
The eastern and western slopes of the river that divide this reserve help create biological and cultural diversity, according to the UN.
Altyn Emel Biosphere Reserve (Kazakhstan)
The deserts, forests and floodplains of the Ili River are surrounded by deciduous and spruce forests as well as salt marshes, according to the UN.
Gadabedji Biosphere Reserve (Niger)
Niger's sprawling reserve of savannahs, depressions, pits and sand dunes includes mammals such as dorcas gazelle, pale fox and golden jackal.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It is home to more than 7% of all the world's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. One such species, the Pharohylaeus lactiferus bee, was recently rediscovered after spending nearly 100 years out of sight from humans.
Scientists have newly photographed three species of shark that can glow in the dark, according to a study published in Frontiers in Marine Science last month.
- 10 Little-Known Shark Facts - EcoWatch ›
- 4 New Walking Shark Species Discovered - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Incredible Species That Glow in the Dark - EcoWatch ›
FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.
- Which Is Worse for the Planet: Beef or Cars? - EcoWatch ›
- Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit Record High Despite Lockdowns, UN ... ›
- 1.8 Billion Tons More Greenhouse Gases Will Be Released, Thanks ... ›