Biosphere Reserves

Biosphere reserves are ‘learning places for sustainable development’. They are sites for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity. They are places that provide local solutions to global challenges. Biosphere reserves include terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. Each site promotes solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. Birding tourism and Eco tourism is vital in these areas and quite rewarding as many Biospheres include RASMAR sites and are supported by UNESCO and ICUN. They comprises of a core area which is a strictly protected zone that contributes to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation. Usally biodiversity hotspots with endemic species of birds,trees and reptiles,in some Chimpanzees and Gorillas.Core are is surrounded by a buffer zone, and is used for activities compatible with sound ecological practices that can reinforce scientific research, monitoring, training and education.Then a transition area is where communities foster socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable economic and human activities.

Lubombo Biosphere Reserve

The Lubombo Biosphere Reserve covers parts of three biomes, the Lowveld Savannah, the Lubombo Plateau Forest Biomes and the Riparian zone. Although the existing protected areas are relatively well positioned to cover the variation in biodiversity, there are a number of growing threats to these reserves and the remaining natural areas within the landscapes of the country. The Lubombo is a highly endemic zone with Lubombo Ironwoods (Androstachys jonsonii), Lubombo Cycads (Encephalartos lebomboensis), and has also recently discovered a new Barleria species (Barleria Lubombensis) confirming the need for a systematic assessment and research for the landscape. The Lubombo landscape also has indigenous forests such as the Jilobi Forest which has high species diversity. The ecosystem provides a habitat for a number of unique fauna some of which are endemic to a region that stretches from northern Kwa-Zulu Natal to southern Mozambique and south-eastern Zimbabwe), like the Suni (Nesotragus moschatus zuluensis) (Thomas 1898); threatened species such as the Leopard (Panthera pardus) and other near threatened wildlife and their conservation will contribute to significantly for Eswatini. Lubombo is the first biosphere reserve in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The country is landlocked, bounded by South Africa in the North, West and South and by Mozambique on the East. The Lubombo region is the largest of the four administrative regions of Eswatini, it represents 34.24% of the country area.

East Usambara Biosphere

The Biosphere Reserve is one of 34 biodiversity hotspots in the world, and with its vast array of endemic plants and animals it is often compared to the Galapagos Islands. The site is home to both the sub-montane rainforest and lowland wooded grassland. These rainforests secure the water supply for the surrounding local community, the Tanga city population, and for industrial use. The biosphere reserve is divided into 3 land management zones, where each zone has its own specific management plan aligned with the MAB programme. The core area is the extensive biodiversity research and training site where 14 protected forest reserves can be found (Amani Nature Reserve, Nilo Nature Reserve, Amani Botanical Garden etc). It is characterized by high concentrations of flora and fauna, including many medicinal plants and 13 endangered bird species. The buffer zone features commercial forest plantations, patches of natural forest turned into village forest reserves by local communities, and some tree crops.

Gombe-Ugalla Biosphere

The world’s longest freshwater lake is hemmed in by the mountainous walls of the Great Rift Valley. It's one of our planet's most biologically rich habitats, not least due to the lakeside presence of the Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream National Parks. These two far-flung destinations are worth the effort it takes to get to them, as both deliver some of Tanzania's most unique safari experiences: tropical rainforest wildlife viewing and remarkable chimpanzee trekking. the incredibly beautiful Mahale Mountains National Park and the equally enticing Gombe Stream National Park. Both parks are famous for their populations of habituated chimpanzees as well as a wide range of other primates, forest birds and dazzling clouds of butterflies.. These remote reserves are not as easy to accesss as Tanzania's more famous safari destinations but both offer visitors a rewarding insight into the biodiversity of a famously biologically rich region.