These Stunning Sites Around the World Are Now Listed on Unesco's World Network of Biosphere Reserves
Certain places in the world — including the Everglades in Florida and Mount Elgon in Kenya — offer an extra dose of magic, boasting such outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity that people are working to preserve, protect, and understand the site at an international level. On Wednesday, 18 new landscapes fitting this criteria were selected to join UNESCO's exclusive World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
The addition of 18 new reserves, which are located in 12 countries, bring the number of biosphere reserves to 701, representing 124 countries around the globe. The sites were approved and added to UNESCO’s list at the International Co-ordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme meeting in Paris.
Included in the list of new additions is the Kingdom of Eswatini’s (formerly known as Swaziland) Lubombo Biosphere Reserve, which includes 88 mammal species, of which 20 are endemic, and landscapes that range from forest to wetland to savanna. Spain’s La Siberia Biosphere Reserve, which features major freshwater reservoirs and rare flora and fauna, was also added to the ranks.
“There is a pressing need to take action for biodiversity, for our shared environmental heritage,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay in a statement. “Each UNESCO biosphere reserve is an open sky laboratory for sustainable development, for concrete and lasting solutions, for innovation and good practices. They seal a new alliance between the world of science and youth, between humans and the environment.”
In addition to the sites in Eswatini and Spain, the following 16 reserves were added:
Austria: Lower Mura Valley Biosphere Reserve
Indonesia: Saleh-Moyo-Tambora “SAMOTA” Biosphere Reserve
Indonesia: Togean Tojo Una-Una Biosphere Reserve
Italy: Po Grande Biosphere Reserve
Italy: Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve
Japan: Kobushi Biosphere Reserve
South Korea: Gangwon Eco-Peace Biosphere Reserve
South Korea: Yeoncheon Imjin River Biosphere Reserve
Norway: Nordhordland Biosphere Reserve
Poland: Roztocze Biosphere Reserve
Russia: Lake Elton Biosphere Reserve
Spain: Alto Turia Biosphere Reserve
Spain: Valle del Cabriel Biosphere Reserve
Sweden: Vindelälven-Juhtatdahka Biosphere Reserve
Sweden: Voxnadalen Biosphere Reserve
United Kingdom: Isle of Wight Biosphere Reserve