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From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

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The biosphere reserve concept – how, where and when to put it into practice


4pm- 5pm Thursday 13 September 2012

Building 19 (new Centre building) Room #106, JCU, Townsville
Maria Thorell, Calluna Consultancy & International Advisory Committe on Biosphere Reserves (UNESCO), Lidköping, Sweden

Abstract:  Biosphere reserves were created as a tool for the Unesco scientific programme Man and the Biosphere (MAB) in early 1970’s. The biosphere reserves became the study sites for the research done within the programme. In the beginning focus was much upon protected areas and natural science. Since then, the tool has developed and the number of biosphere reserves has grown considerably. In 2012, there are 597 biosphere reserves in 117 countries. The Seville Strategy, the Statutory Framework of the World Network and the Madrid Action Plan are the basic documents for the programme. Here, e.g. the criterias for what is a biosphere reserve are described, as well as quality goals for biosphere reserves. Science within the MAB programme has also developed. Still the classic research is being done, but also new types of research are produced; e.g. social science research about how cooperative processes in biosphere reserves works and how the tool contributes to sustainable development. The aim of my presentation and the seminar is to share knowledge and insights between us about the MAB programme, biosphere reserves and conservation. First, I will in short present the scientific program of Man and the Biosphere and the biosphere reserve concept. Then, I will zoom into a specific country to exemplify how it could look in practice when applied. I will use Sweden as the example.  With this as a background, I will zoom out again and reflect upon the advantages and limitations of the biosphere reserve concept, as well as the policy and political context for their establishment and management.

Biography: Maria is from Sweden where she completed her MSc in Biology and Conservation Biology at Uppsala University. After a short working experience at a regional museum for natural and cultural history, and publishing a booklet on Biosphere Reserves in Swedish on behalf of the Swedish MAB committee, she commenced a PhD  at Gothenburg University. Her thesis concerned forest conservation strategy for southern Sweden, in which she explored the zoning system of biosphere reserves and the implication it could have for increased forest protection. She has an extensive experience in project management, especially related to the Man and Biosphere Programme (UNESCO) and Swedish biosphere reserves. She has been a member of the Swedish National MAB committee 1999-2007. During 2012-2015 she is a member of the International Advisory Committee on Biosphere Reserves. After her PhD, she has worked with nature reserve establishment, the interface of wind power development and conservation as well as the interface of landscape values and tourism development at the County Administrative Board of Västra Götalands län. Since 2012, she works as senior consultant at the consultancy company Calluna, www.calluna.se. Here, Maria continues to work with her special interests: landscape analysis, biosphere reserves, protected areas, tourism, wind power development and species protection.



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