US Biosphere Network

creek lined with trees
Congaree National Park is part of the internationally recognized Congaree Biosphere Region.

NPS/Stauffenberg

Biosphere regions offer a unique model for bringing communities and organizations together in a common purpose: conserving the beauty and diversity of nature and sustaining the benefits of a healthy environment for society.

What is the US Biosphere Network?

The US Biosphere Network (USBN) is made up of 28 internationally recognized areas across the continental United States, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Hawai'i. Their beauty and value stand out in national parks, state parks, national forests, national marine sanctuaries as well as private lands, from deserts to forests, grasslands to rivers, and mountains to coasts. Communities and partners within them work together to advance positive relationships between people and nature at large geographic scales. The USBN fosters national and international connections among biosphere regions, facilitates their sharing of best practices, and supports their work toward achieving a harmonious relationship between people and the environment.

Why are biosphere regions and partners important to conservation of parks and protected areas and the well-being of communities?

Our livelihoods and quality of life depend on clean water, agriculture, recreation and tourism, carbon sequestration and other essential services from healthy lands, air and water. Parks and protected areas provide these values and share these concerns. Biosphere regions offer practical ways for communities and public land managers to work together to sustain nature’s important benefits. Biosphere regions are voluntary entities that cooperate on these actions:

  1. Conserve biodiversity and promote healthy, thriving ecosystems
  2. Promote economic well-being and culture of communities through environmentally sound planning and practices
  3. Empower local decision-making through open dialogue for sustainable economic development, research, and education
  4. Share experiences and gain knowledge from participation in the U.S. and World Networks of Biosphere Regions

What is the World Network of Biosphere Reserves?

The main goal of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves is to inspire a positive future by connecting people and nature today. More than 700 biosphere regions in 124 nations are recognized internationally by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Man and the Biosphere Program. National governments assist with nominating and maintaining biosphere regions but local organizations run them.

More in-depth information about the US Biosphere Network.

Last updated: April 2, 2021

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