To Unesco home page

To sitemap

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

United States of America

SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN

 
       
  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)


Last updated: 3/11/2005

To topTo MAB home pageTo UNESCO