PDF _ RS20220 - Biosphere Reserves and the U.S. MAB Program
4-Jun-1999; Susan Fletcher; 4 p.

Abstract: Since 1972, the United States has participated in the Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB), coordinated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Each participating nation establishes its own domestic MAB program, which includes a wide variety of ecosystem and biological research. As part of the U.S. MAB program, 47 biosphere reserves have been established in the United States. These sites are part of a network of 356 such areas worldwide, in which scientists conduct research and communicate about their findings. Biosphere reserves are nominated by the country in which they are located. They are usually areas protected for domestic purposes, such as national parks, and no change in jurisdiction or sovereignty occurs as a result of recognition as biosphere reserves. However, controversy has arisen over the connection to the United Nations and fears by some commentators and organizations that U.S. sovereignty could be affected. The American Land Sovereignty Protection Act has been introduced in the 104 , 105 , and 106 th th th Congresses to address these concerns by requiring congressional approval of nominations of federal lands for recognition under international programs, including the MAB program, and by placing other conditions on U.S. participation in the program. The American Land Sovereignty Protection Act passed the House in 1997 (H.R. 901) and on May 20, 1999 (H.R. 883), and the Senate held hearings on S. 510, a companion bill, on May 26, 1999. The legislation would also affect U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention, under which World Heritage sites are recognized, and which include some of the sites recognized as biosphere reserves; for more information on that program, see CRS Report 96-395, World Heritage Convention and U.S. National Parks. This report will be updated periodically as legislative action or other activity requires. [read report]

Topics: Biodiversity, Marine, Natural Resources

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