International Day of Biosphere Reserves

UNESCO established November 3 as the International Day of Biosphere Reserves with the aim of highlighting the importance of these natural spaces in the conservation of ecosystems, promoting research, sustainable development, and decision-making on environmental care.

Biosphere Reserves refer to areas on the planet that contain natural resources that represent the diversity of habitats, hosting a wide range of ecosystems and biodiversity. These spaces include humid tropical forests, tundra, temperate forests, arctic deserts, boreal forests, and subtropical rainforests, among others. These reserves have international recognition, and each country maintains its sovereignty over them.

The initiative was approved at the UNESCO General Conference in 2021 by the Science Commission. Biosphere Reserves are protected areas that combine environmental conservation and sustainable human development and are internationally recognized.

In 1974, UNESCO, with the support of the governments of several countries around the world, created the Biosphere Reserves, with the aim of promoting the balanced, fair, and equitable management of these spaces, avoiding the indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources, and thus conserving the planet’s ecosystems. Today, there are 714 spaces classified as Biosphere Reserves in 124 countries, organized as part of the United Nations agency’s Man and Biosphere Program. These spaces have an invaluable scientific, biological, ecological, and cultural interest, promoting research, education, and the exchange of experiences. Furthermore, the maintenance of these natural spaces contributes to the growth of local economies. Biosphere Reserves have considerable potential to become powerful tools to remedy existing imbalances between conservation and development. In Spain, there are 53 locations, being the world’s leading country in biosphere reserves.

Biosphere Reserves in Quintana Roo

Besides its beautiful turquoise waters that line the coast, the State is rich in vegetation and is home to diverse ecosystems, including rainforests, mangroves, swamps, cenotes, and underground caves. In these lands, there are animals such as the jaguar, tlacuache, spider monkey, tapir, and wild boar, among others. Its waters are home to dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and a wide variety of fish, making this tourist destination a place of great value and attraction for many people every year.

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is the largest and most recognized natural area in Quintana Roo. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to 23 Mayan archaeological sites. It is believed that this reserve was an important commercial center between Tulum and Muyil. Coral reefs, mangroves, cenotes, and underground caves play a crucial role in this reserve, as they do in most of Quintana Roo’s territories.

The Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve, is located in the Caribbean Sea, approximately 30 kilometers or about 20 miles southeast of the city of Xcalak, in the State of Quintana Roo. It is the largest coral reef reserve in the Mesoamerican reef system and is home to a great diversity of corals, fish, sea turtles, and other marine organisms. It is also an important site for diving and snorkeling.

The Cozumel Biosphere Reserve and Surrounding Areas is located off the coast of Quintana Roo and is famous for its natural beauty and its importance as a habitat for various species.

Other Biosphere Reserves near Quintana Roo:
The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, is located in the municipalities of Calakmul and Hopelchen, in the State of Campeche. It protects an extensive rainforest and is home to many species of flora and fauna, including the jaguar, which is emblematic of the region.

The Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve is located on the northern coast of the state of Yucatan. This biosphere reserve protects an extensive area of wetlands and mangroves. It is an important habitat for waterfowl, pink flamingos, and other migratory species.