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      Biosphere Reserve Information

United States of America


  General Description   Straddling the border of six states of the Southern Appalachians (Northern Georgia, northeastern Alabama, western South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and southwestern Virginia), this biosphere reserve encompasses mainly second growth temperate forests and contains a diversity of habitats ranging from remnant prairie grasslands and swamp forests to high elevation spruce-fir forests and grassy meadows. The biosphere reserve consists of six units (e.g. Great Smoky Mountains National Park) which independently manage their resources.
Regional population growth in the region exceeds the national average but is unevenly distributed. Good health care facilities and recreational opportunities are attracting retirees. Younger, well-educated people are finding jobs in cities. However, many of the long-term residents are finding fewer job opportunities as the traditional resource extraction and textile industries decline. These factors contribute to poorly planned land development and degradation of natural resources. Growing tourism pressure, urbanization, air and water pollution, changing patterns of land use, fragmentation of wildlife habitats, and invasion of alien species are main challenges which faces the region today.
The main mission of the Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere (SAMAB) is to promote environmental health and stewardship of natural and cultural resources in the Southern Appalachians. It encourages community-based solutions to critical regional issues through cooperation among partners, information gathering and sharing, integrated assessments, and demonstration projects. The SAMAB is a private, non-profit organization, established to complement the activities of the Cooperative of Federal and State Agencies. It comprises university, community, corporate and non-governmental organization collaborations. One example of these cooperation activities is the Southern Appalachian Assessment (1996) which reports on the status and trends through time of atmospheric, aquatic, terrestrial, and socio-economic and cultural resources of the region.
SAMAB is currently planning an assessment of the environments surrounding the 3,467 km Appalachian Trail that extends from Maine to Georgia. This project engages managers, researchers, educators, entrepreneurs and communities in order to illuminate the needs, capabilities and constraints that each of them face.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate broadleaf forest
  Major habitats & land cover types   Forests; pasture land; cropland; developed areas; water bodies and wetlands
  Location   35 to 36N, 83 to 84W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   15,195,341
  Core area(s)   235,341
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given   14,960,000
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +226 to +2,025
  Year designated   1988
  Administrative authorities   Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere Cooperative (SAMAB)
  Brief description   Air quality
Exotic species
Human resources
Global environment
Forest health
Fresh water initiatives
Threatened/endangered species
Long-term ecosystem processes
Landscape studies
Environmental biotechnology
Environmental assessment and education
Geographic information systems (GIS)
Sustainable development issues
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Air quality, geology.
  Biodiversity   Alien/Invasive/Exotic/Introduced species, biodiversity, biotechnology, ecosystem assessment, ecosystem functioning/ecosystem structure, forest systems, freshwater/inland water, rare/endangered/threatened species.
  Socio-economic   n.a.
  Integrated monitoring   Education and public awareness, geographic information system/gis, integrated studies/interdisciplinaty, landscape inventorying/monitoring, sustainable development/sustainable use.
  Contact address   Robert S. Turner
Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere (SAMAB)
314 UT Conference Center
37996-4138 Knoxville, Tennessee
United States of America
  Telephone   (1.865) 974 4585
  Fax   (1.865) 974 4609
  Web site

Last updated: 11/03/2005

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