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25 New Places To Go

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Twenty-five new sites, including 18 in Mexico, have been added to the United Nations global network of protected biosphere reserves, the UN announced last week. The UN is actively promoting eco-tourism development in these regions, as a way to improve the lives of the local people while protecting the environment.

Besides Mexico, the sites include three in Spain, one site shared between Spain and Morocco, two in France, and one each in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Viet Nam and Malawi. The additions extend the biosphere network, which is overseen by the UN’s Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to 507 reserves in 102 countries.

One new reserve in Mexico – Mariposa Monarca – will afford protection for the Monarch butterfly. The arrival of the Monarch butterfly attracts large numbers of tourists, providing considerable income for the local population. Another new reserve, in the Chihuahua desert of the Mexican Highlands, features close to 500 pozas, pools whose turquoise waters come from underground sources. The place has been compared to the Galapagos Islands for its exceptional wealth of plants and animals that are found here and nowhere else. Other Mexican reserves protect lagoons, forests, ancient cultural sites, mountains, and coral reefs.

The new reserves also protect a coastal region in Viet Nam known for its manatees; in Malawi, wetlands rich with birdlife; in Spain, both ecological and cultural heritage.

More info:
UNESCO’s list
Story by Environmental News Service