'ME AND THE BIOSPHERE: 50th Anniversary of UNESCO’s MAB Programme' is a Special Issue of the Journal on Protected Mountain Areas Research and Management (eco.mont), and is now available online. 

On the occasion of 50 years of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, the Austrian MAB National Committee has organized and financed a special issue on Biosphere Reserves in Mountain Regions in the Journal on Protected Mountain Areas Research and Management (eco.mont). The special issue contains 16 articles from four out of five MAB regions.

Several key messages can be derived from the articles. Some articles deal with long-term changes in the MAB programme and its World Biosphere Reserve Network (WNBR): Price et al. analyse the development of mountain research in the MAB programme over the 50 years of its existence, while Thomsen et al. look at the transformation of the Biosphere Reserve (BR) network in the USA. Knaus et al. analyse the output of two decades of research in the Swiss Entlebuch BR. In the article by Jungmeier et al., a large number of authors deal with the historical development, the current status and the future perspective (especially in relation to the implementation of the SDGs) of BRs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. These articles highlight the successful constant evolution and adaptation (e. g. Seville Strategy, Madrid Action Plan, Lima Action Plan) of the MAB programme over the last 50 years in response to changing global challenges. Residents and stakeholders seem to see many advantages in the existence of a BR and benefit from its ecosystem services (Eder & Arnberger; Pantic et al.). However, there are many local and global factors that alter and threaten BRs, including climate change, depopulation, over-tourism, illegal construction, land abandonment, and lack of legal support (Di Lonardo & Cinocca; Botha et al.; Huber et al.; Ibisch et al.; Mansilla-Quinones et al.; Odar et al.; Pantic et al.). BRs therefore need to adapt, require capacity building and need experienced management with sufficient financial and human resources to meet these challenges (Thompson et al.). The articles in this special issue contain many best practices, references, and recommendations to ensure the long-term sustainability and successful management of BRs.

This issue is also a contribution to the re-launch of the World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves, which aims to improve the protection of mountainous ecosystems and the livelihoods of mountain communities. The Mountain Research Initiative is proud to be collaborating with UNESCO MAB in order to support the needs of the World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves in the short-medium to long-term.

Access the Special Issue.

This article is adapted from the Special Issue's Editorial, written by Günter Köck, Valerie Braun and Arne Arnberger.

Cover image by CalTravelForAll via Pixabay. 

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