UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserves already deal with ecosystem services and sustainable development

Peter Bridgewater, Didier Babin

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Xu et al. (1) make a most useful contribution to the debate on protected areas (PAs) in China and make a welcome focus on ecosystem services rather than threatened species. Nonetheless, their continued focus is on the establishment of PAs, rather than wider landscape-scale approaches, which are more suitable to the Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, they say, “First, there is no PA type particular to ecosystem services conservation and directly aimed at enhancing ecological security for human beings. Nature reserves are established primarily for biodiversity conservation, not for ecosystem services. Second, important areas for conservation of biodiversity and of different ecosystem services do not always match well. Many places important for ecosystem services are not important for biodiversity conservation.”
These assertions need to be challenged for several reasons. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserves are established directly to bring together biodiversity, cultural diversity, and ecosystem services, thus promoting ecological security and models for sustainable development. China has a good strong Man and Biosphere (MAB) Program with a network of 33 Biosphere Reserves (created between 1979 and 2015), yet the article does not touch on this at all
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4318
Number of pages1
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2017


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