Home BIOSPHERE RESERVE What is a biosphere reserve?

What is a "biosphere reserve"?

"Biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial and/or coastal ecosystems promoting solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. “

They are internationally recognized by UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program, nominated by national governments and remain under sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located.

Biosphere reserves serve in some ways as 'living laboratories' for testing out and demonstrating integrated management of land, water and biodiversity.


The three main functions, which all BRs have in common, are:

1. Conservation of natural and cultural diversity

2. Support of sustainable economic and social development

3. Support of education, research and information exchange

The BRs through their functions identify and assess the changes in the biosphere resulting from human and natural activities and the effects of these changes on humans and the environment.


They study relationships between natural or near-natural ecosystems and socio-economic processes, and the impact on ability of ecosystems to continue to provide services critical for human well-being.


The BRs help to ensure basic human welfare and a livable environment with the help of exchange and transfer of knowledge on environmental problems and solutions for sustainable development.


Each biosphere reserve should be divided into three zones:

1.The core zone is the most valuable of the three. It is strictly protected and serves to conservation and non-invasive research of natural undisturbed habitats only.

2.The buffer zone surrounds core zone and serves mainly to scientific, educational and soft tourism purposes.

3.The last, but the most important one, is a transition zone where everyday business should emphasize environmentally friendly approaches.


Biosphere reserves are not focused on nature conservation only, as they respect and support all human activities, which lead to the positive and sustainable use of the landscape.

The role of a biosphere reserve as a facilitator of a problem solving process and/or an independent discussion platform where different stakeholders can reach compromises is also very important.