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Biosphere Reserve

What are they?

Biosphere reserve is a non-statutory designation made by the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO) under its 'Man and the Biosphere' ecological programme launched in 1970 (Project No. 8).  More information about biosphere reserves is available on the UNESCO Science external site website.

Where are they?

Currently there are two biosphere reserves in Scotland at (1) Beinn Eighe, in Wester Ross and (2) the  Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve. external site  

The last was re-declared by UNESCO on 24 July 2012. This much enlarged site now reflects the changed criteria and purpose of the designation. 

How are they selected and designated?

Biosphere reserves may be proposed by any community or by organisations such as Scottish Natural Heritage.  Proposals are made to UNESCO via the Scottish Government and Defra, UK Government.  UNESCO considers proposals and reviews existing sites every 5 years.

Implementation and management are the responsibility of the communities.

How are they protected and managed?

Biosphere reserve designation is a tool to promote the integrated and sustainable management of an area.  They require the application of two approaches: 

(1) the use of a zonation approach with a protected core area and a buffer area within which sustainable development may be promoted; and,

(2) participation of the local community.



Last updated on Wednesday 28th June 2017 at 09:57 AM. Click here to comment on this page