|This 208 page, A4 book
gives a comprehensive overview of biosphere reserves. These are special natural areas of
international importance, which are designated by UNESCO. Biosphere reserves take into
account conservation interests, while at the same time recognizing the need for compatible
book includes the rationale behind the development of the concept, as well as the
functions of biosphere reserves. The regional and international collaboration involved in
current reserves are discussed. Future prospects for the concept are also covered, as well
as all the relevant information that anyone with a general interest is likely to need.
For teachers and students, the most
useful feature of the book may be the great number and variety of different projects that
are described. There are many examples of conservation from around the world. These
include details of local research projects on sustainable development, as well as
interpretive and educational materials based on particular reserves. The collation of all
these project descriptions into one book could save a great deal of research time. A
particularly useful feature is the inclusion of the web site addresses for particular
projects and organisations. However, one drawback of the printed medium versus digital, is
that these may quite quickly become out of date.
Examples are drawn from around
Africa, Asia, North & South America, Australasia and Europe, although examples from
the UK are conspicuously lacking. There is a brief mention of 'Dyfi', which is the only
biosphere reserve in Wales. There is no significant mention of any of the biosphere
reserves in England or Scotland. This 'omission' is likely to be due to the fact that when
the book was being written (2001), the situation regarding UK reserves was under major
The book is divided into four main
- Introduction and Overview
- Dimensions and Functions, including;
Testing approaches to sustainable development
Biosphere reserves as research spaces
Learning through Biosphere reserves;
(This includes a list of the study grants funded by UNESCO, as well as examples of
interpretive and educational materials developed for particular reserves.)
- Making things work, including;
National building blocks
Regional and sub-regional collaboration
Communication and Information
- For the Future - biosphere reserves as
examples of sustainable development.
- Annexes include a list of biosphere reserves.
From a UK perspective this is now out of date. There is a very useful glossary of
acronyms. A bibliography is included which is extensive enough to be of value, without
This is a book for dipping into and
for researching particular topics, rather than a book that one would read from cover to
cover. Every page is packed full of information requiring careful attention. The format is
visually interesting, with a wealth of photographs, drawings, maps and diagrams.
It would be a significant advantage
if all this information was digitally available on the internet. This would ensure its
widest dissemination and ease of access. It would also provide a means for ensuring that
in a rapidly changing world, the information can be kept up to date.