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      Biosphere Reserve Information

United States of America


  General Description   Situated in Kentucky, the Mammoth Cave Area Biosphere Reserve represents a karst system characterized by complex underground water courses and a multilayered cave system with unique fauna and mineralization features. It is also of interest from a cultural point of view since prehistoric peoples explored and extracted minerals from the caves, used them for shelter, and cultivated the surface area. The biosphere reserve is a rural area where farming has been an economic mainstay since prehistory. In more recent times, also light industry, service industry and tourism become increasingly important for the about 67,600 people living in the biosphere reserve (1996).
The most significant issue for the biosphere reserve is to achieve sustainable development that improves the economic and social well-being of local people, and is compatible with conservation values. The biosphere reserve serves as a framework for supporting the local community’s needs for economic development within the context of ecosystem management. Of particular concern to the Mammoth Cave Area is the impact of agricultural, commercial, and residential land use on ecosystems - especially with respect to the effects of groundwater pollution on cave biota. A major emphasis of the biosphere reserve programme is to assist landowners to improve their land-use practices.
A Biosphere Reserve Cooperative coordinates the programme in the biosphere reserve that features monitoring for water pollution sources, establishing a regional geographic information system, and educational and cultural heritage projects.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate broadleaf forest
  Major habitats & land cover types   Cave system; forests
  Location   37°07' to 37°17'N; 86°00' to 86°17'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   367,979
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +180 to +231
  Year designated   1990, extension 1996
  Administrative authorities   Mammoth Cave National Park/Barren River Area Development District, BRADD

Last updated: 14/01/2002

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