Unesco Man and Biosphere MaB 1971 wwwunescoorgmab wwwunescoorgmab brim

The UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MaB) program started in 1971 as an outcome of a Biosphere conference that was held in Paris in 1968. The MaB program developed the basis, within the natural and social sciences, for the sustainable use and conservation of biological diversity and for the improvement of the relationship between people and their environment globally.

MaB activity is devoted to the research and monitoring of abiotic, biotic, and social aspects of biosphere reserves in an integrated approach throughout the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).

There are five biosphere reserves located within the Arctic (see Table) and there are others located just south of the Arctic Circle (e.g., Denali in the Alaska Range, Aleutian Islands Biosphere Reserve and National Wildlife Refuge, Glacier Bay and Admiralty Island in Alaska, Pechora-Ilych in the Komi Republic, Tzentralnosibirskii in Krasnoyarsk Kray, Kronotskiy on the Kamchatka Peninsula, and the Commander

(Komandorsky) Islands). The reserves that are presented in the Table are located either in the northern taiga or in the tundra.

The WNBR is organized via the Biosphere Reserve Integrated Monitoring program (BRIM), which aims to provide a platform for the integration of the resulting information/data, thus contributing to a better understanding of the changes that take place in the areas

Biosphere reserves located in the Arctic


Short description

Major vegetation type Location (lat; long) Size (hectares)

Noatak (USA)

Northeast Greenland

Lake Torne area (Sweden)

Laplandskiy (Russia)

Taimyrsky (Russia)

Noatak Biosphere Reserve is located in northwestern Alaska and was established in order to maintain the environmental integrity of the Noatak River and adjacent uplands. Situated in northeast Greenland, this biosphere reserve is the largest biosphere reserve in the world.

Situated about 200 km north of the Arctic Circle in northwest Sweden, this biosphere reserve comprises mixed terrestrial ecosystems (Subarctic mountain birch, alpine and subalpine heaths, meadows, mires, bare rock communities) surrounding the nutrient-poor Lake Torne.

Laplandskiy Biosphere Reserve is situated in the western part of the Kola Peninsula about 120 km south of Murmansk and 120 km north of the Arctic Circle. It is an area of plains and mountains, with glaciated land forms and exposures of the Baltic shield. Taimyrsky Biosphere Reserve is located in the northern Siberian lowlands on the Taymyr Peninsula. The site is a cluster biosphere reserve with three core areas (one covering part of Lake Taymyr), each with a relatively narrow surrounding buffer zone, and which are protected collectively as the Taymyr State Reserve.


680 N; 16G0w


Tundra communities and barren Arctic deserts

Tundra communities and barren Arctic deserts



Boreal needle-leaf forests or woodlands


Tundra communities and barren Arctic deserts (north boundary of forest-tundra and mountain tundra)


being studied and of the factors triggering these changes. BRIM's goal is also to suggest options for planning and management in biosphere reserves. An important outcome from BRIM is the MaBFauna/MaBFlora database, which is a biological inventory system for vertebrate animals and vascular plants. This database is freely available, but syntheses of the inventories seem to be not yet available. Over the next decades, MaB will be focusing on new approaches for facilitating sustainable development through promoting conservation and wise use of biodiversity.

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