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      Biosphere Reserve Information

United States of America


  General Description   The Virginia Coast Biosphere Reserve on the Atlantic Ocean is composed of barrier islands with adjacent estuaries and marshlands. For centuries, people have used the islands and marshes for pastureland, waterfowl hunting and marketing as well as for resort and house development. They constitute a valuable economic resource and local people depend on the clean waters for fish and shellfish.
The main aim of the biosphere reserve is to protect natural systems while enhancing the quality of life for the local community. The Virginia Coast Reserve project aims at protecting a rural way of life and sustainable development to the benefit of all community members, and includes individuals, farmers, business people, federal, state and local governments, colleges and universities, and community groups. Various outreach programs are offered, designed specifically for students and local community groups.
Among the main research and management issues in the area are the migration of the barrier islands and marshland dynamics due to the rising sea level, influencing habitat studies and conservation approaches.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate broadleaf forest
  Major habitats & land cover types  
  Location   3705' to 3734'N; 7537' to 7556'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   13,511
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +10
  Year designated   1979
  Administrative authorities   Virginia Coast Reserve The Nature Conservancy
  Brief description   Biogeochemical cycles
Effects of sea level rise
Geo-morphological research
Ecological succession
Ecosystem modelling
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Geomorphology, hydrology.
  Biodiversity   Modelling, phytosociology/succession.
  Socio-economic   n.a.
  Integrated monitoring   Biogeochemistry, impact and risk studies/environmental impact.
  Contact address   Steve Parker
The Nature Conservancy
11332 Brownsville Road
23413 Nassawadox, Virginia
United States of America
  Telephone   (1-757) 442-3049

Last updated: 31/10/2007

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