To Unesco home page

To sitemap

To MAB home page title2.gif (2287 bytes)
      Biosphere Reserve Information

United States of America


  General Description   Big Bend Biosphere Reserve and National Park, situated in the big bend of the Rio Grande in western Texas, represents one of three biosphere reserves in the Chihuahuan Desert (among Jornada Biosphere Reserve in USA and Mapimí Biosphere Reserve in Mexico). The vegetation zones in Big Bend are mainly determined by elevation (533 – 2,388 meters above sea level), comprising mainly shrub deserts and grasslands as well as some woodlands and riverine vegetation.
All three biosphere reserves are located in areas traditionally dominated by a livestock raising economy. Today, they face a variety of resource management issues relating to sustainable development in desert ecosystems. Problems are associated with grazing of livestock, air pollution, and water quality, poaching of plants and animals, and loss of habitats.
The Big Bend Biosphere Reserve is largely a protected core area managed for conservation, public education, and recreation use. One of the major programs in the Big Bend Biosphere Reserve is maintaining the area’s remarkable biodiversity, exemplified by some 58 endangered, threatened, and listed species and the occurrence of over 430 species of birds. A growing tourism industry is developing around Big Bend National Park.
In nominating three biosphere reserves in the Chihuahuan Desert it was expected that cooperation would develop the knowledge and skills needed to manage the ecosystems of the Chihuahuan Desert for conservation and sustainable economic uses. Today, mainly research and environmental education projects characterize this cooperation.
  Major ecosystem type   Warm desert
  Major habitats & land cover types  
  Location   29°30'N, 102°103'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   283,247
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +533 to +2,388
  Year designated   1976
  Administrative authorities   Big Bend National Park National Park Service
  Brief description   Inventory of resources
River use along Rio Grande
Hydrological cycle
Water quality and flow
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Geomorphology, hydrology.
  Biodiversity   Natural resources, reptiles.
  Socio-economic   Anthropological studies/Anthropology, resource use.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address   Frank J. Deckert
P.O. Box 129, Big Bend National Park
79834 Texas
United States of America
  Telephone   (1.915) 477 2251 ext. 101
  Fax   (1.915) 477 2357
  Web site

Last updated: 28/02/2002

To topTo MAB home pageTo UNESCO