Presentation of the course

We are living in an era of global change. The Earth system is experimenting with deep transformations, on a planetary scale. The carbon, nitrogen and water cycles are altering; the climate is getting warmer; the population is growing; land cover is changing; the economy is globalizing; the urban is growing; the atmosphere, the soils, and the water bodies are getting polluted; the biodiversity is disappearing and getting poorer.  

The biosphere is in crisis. And since we are part of it, we should start caring for it, but seriously. 

During the last decades, nature conservation mechanisms, tools and practices have been put in place at various levels and scales. Governments, international organisms and civil society organizations have been working together, signing agreements and instituting environmental protected areas for the conservation of the biosphere and its bio-cultural diversity.  

Throughout this course, we will learn about the case of Biosphere Reserves, special protected areas promoted under the auspices of the Man and Biosphere Program of UNESCO. According to UNESCO: “Biosphere reserves promote solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. They are learning areas for sustainable development under diverse ecological, social and economic contexts, touching the lives of more than 250 million people.”  

But…what exactly a Biosphere Reserve consists of? 

The objective of this course is to answer this question from a Mediterranean perspective and under the frame of Edu-BioMed, an international cooperation project co-funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Commission, which main objective is to promote education and applied research in Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves. The project involves several organizations from Mediterranean countries, including universities and, of course, Biosphere Reserves management bodies. 

You will have as teachers some professionals in the field of environmental protection and education: university professors and researchers, NGOs representatives and Biosphere Reserve managers. 

The course is divided into five modules.

  • In the first module, we will deepen our understanding of the role of the biosphere in an era of global change. 
  • In the second module, we will explain what a Biosphere Reserve is (and is not!) 
  • In the third module, we will see how Biosphere Reserves can serve to the understanding and managing of changes and interactions between social and ecological systems 
  • In the fourth module, Biosphere Reserve managers will take the stage and will bring case studies from the ground 
  • In the fifth module, we will provide with a few conceptual and methodological tools that are relevant in the field of conservation management 

And now… it is time to learn from Biosphere Reserves!