President Reagan pulled America out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1984 because he believed it was totally corrupt. George W. Bush returned our country to UNESCO in 2002, stating that he was doing so as a symbol of our commitment to human dignity. “This organization has been reformed,” he said, “and America will participate fully in its mission to advance human rights and tolerance and learning.”
Because “we” rejoined UNESCO, it’s Man and the Biosphere Program, which has never completely halted since its inception in the early 1970s, has been moving full speed ahead in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.). It’s gathered considerable traction in the Northern Lower Peninsula, too. Biospheres, however, are listed only at the request of the country in which they’re located and can be removed from the biosphere reserve list at any time by a request from that country. The National Park Service is typically the government agency to make such a request.
A U.N. Biosphere is a designated core area, generally federal public land. They’re managed by a government agency, most usually the National Park Service, which may take on a management partner through a “memorandum of understanding.” The same is true of the U.S. Forest Service Agency that’s in charge of at least thirteen U.N. Biospheres.
A Biosphere might encompass a National Park, National Forest, National Seashore, National Monument, National Wild and Scenic River, Scenic Highway, Heritage Site, Historical Park, Wilderness Area, Designated Wetland, or Wildlife Preserve, among other things.
The core Biosphere is “buffered” by surrounding it with more public land, including state and local municipality land, as well as land owned by nature conservancies or land trusts. The “buffer zones”, which also stretch across rivers and lakes and even international boundaries, are commonly referred to as “bioreserves”. Ontario, Canada’s “Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve” can easily share its border with Michigan. See the escarpment map here.
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