20 new sites become UNESCO biosphere reserves

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The International Co-ordinating Council of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) has added 20 new sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, bringing their total number to 651 sites, including 15 transboundary sites, in 120 countries. Myanmar had its first biosphere reserve inscribed this year. These additions were made by the Council during a meeting taking place in Paris from 8 to 12 June.


The Belezma biosphere reserve, Algeria



The Belezma National Park. [Photo/UNESCO]

The Belezma biosphere reserve is a mosaic of habitats including forests, thickets, lawns, cliffs and rivers. It includes over 5,315 hectares of centuries' old Atlas cedars, almost one third of the cedar forests of Algeria. Endemic to North Africa, Algeria and Morocco, the cedar is a protected species in Algeria. It is a flagship tree species of the Aurès region. The reserve also boasts historic and archaeological sites, caves and tombs. It is home to 3,500 inhabitants who work in livestock and grain farms as well as commercial and artisanal activities.

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