Fundy Biosphere Reserve Joins World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves

Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve (FBR) is expanding its international reach as a new member of the World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves, a network of twenty island and coastal biosphere reserves.

Established in 2012, the World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves aims to study, implement and disseminate island and coastal strategies to preserve biodiversity and heritage, promote sustainable development, and adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. One of the network’s headquarters in the island of Jeju (Republic of Korea) focuses on climate change issues, while the other headquarter in Menorca (Spain) specializes in sustainable development.

“Island and coastal areas biosphere reserves around the world have different natural, cultural, socio-economic and political characteristics. In spite of that, they still have similar problems that can be addressed in a common way,” says FBR Executive Director Megan de Graaf. “Climate change and sustainable development are both issues that the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and its communities have some leadership experience in. For example, our Climate Change local knowledge videos and education materials, as well as our Amazing Places, which promote sustainable tourism, are projects that will be shared with and potentially replicated in other Biosphere Reserves.”

“Coastal climate change deeply concerns the FBR”, adds Dr. Yves Gagnon, Chair of the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “We will benefit from working with colleagues who are dealing with this issue in other regions of the world and share some of the same exceptional environmental, ecological and social assets as the Fundy region. The Board of Directors of the FBR is very proud that our Executive Director, Megan de Graaf, has been invited as a Speaker to the next international meeting of the Network.”

The Fundy Biosphere Reserve is currently the only biosphere reserve in Canada to join the World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves, and de Graaf will participate in the Network’s next meeting in March in Valletta, Malta. The network hosts yearly meetings, where issues specific to island and coastal BRs are discussed in practical and strategic ways. Island and coastal biosphere reserves, such as the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, are particularly vulnerable to climate change, the impacts of which, in many regions, will increasingly cause poverty, natural disasters, depopulation, loss of traditional culture and the detrimental effect of invasive species.

Current Network Participants:

  •  Mata Atlantica, Brazil
  • Fundy, Canada
  • Juan Fernandez, Chile
  • Nanji Islands, China
  • Mount Kuwol, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
  • West Estonian Archipelago, Estonia
  • Archipielago Sea Area, Finland
  • La Selle, Haiti
  • Siberut Island, Indonesia
  • Future Portland Bight, Jamaica
  • Yakushima, Japan
  • Islas del Golfo de California, Mexico
  • Palawan, Philippines
  • Santana Madeira, Portugal
  • Gochang, Republic of Korea
  • Jeju, Republic of Korea
  • Shinan Dadohae, Republic of Korea
  • Komandorskiye Islands, Russian Federation
  • Island of Principe, Sao Tome & Príncipe
  • El Hierro, Spain
  • Fuerteventura, Spain
  • Gran Canaria, Spain
  • Lanzarote, Spain
  • La Palma, Spain
  • Menorca, Spain
  • St Mary's, St. Kitts & Nevis
  • Cat Ba, Vietnam