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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   The Socotra Archipelago is located off the Horn of Africa, at the crossroads between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is recognised as a regional centre of biodiversity, with spectacular endemic species such as the Dragon Blood Tree (Dracaena cinnabari). Socotra has a rich cultural heritage, including the unique Soqotri language. Isolated from the rest of the world, traditional land and sea uses remained little changed until the 1970s.
The challenge of the Biosphere Reserve is to ensure better living conditions for its 30,000 inhabitants based on the sustainable use of natural resources. A part of the population stayed nomadic and semi nomadic due to the transhumance grazing system. The rest of the population are fishermen, farmers or depend on tourism. The biosphere reserve designation stems from an UNDP-GEF project conducted by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) of the Republic of Yemen, with the support of the Government of Netherlands. A Conservation Zoning Plan has been established in close consultation with the local communities. Core areas are relatively small, protected as nature sanctuaries, and make up 9,500 ha on land and 1,540 ha in the marine zone. The buffer zones consist of national parks, covering 274,800 ha on land, and 151,400 ha on sea. The transition area is the most intensively used zone of the islands, including towns and settlements, roads and commercial developments, covering some 94,470 ha plus a 12 nautical mile marine resource use area corresponding to over 1.6 million ha. The EPA has the overall responsibility for coordination and management.
  Major ecosystem type   Arid tropical deciduous shrubland, coastal plains and marine zone
  Major habitats & land cover types   Open deciduous shrub land, croton shrubland of low lands plains, succulent shrubland, semi evergreen woodland escarpment with Draceana cinnabari trees, submontane shrubland and grassland, mangroves, lagoon and seasonal water courses or river valleys (khors).
  Location   1200 N 1242 N
5230 E 54.30 E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   2,681,640
  Core area(s)   Terrestrial: 9,500 Marine: 1,540
  Buffer zone(s)   Terrestrial: 274,830 Marine: 151,400
  Transition area(s) when given   Terrestrial: 94,470 Marine: 1,649,900
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0-1,630 m
  Year designated   2003
  Administrative authorities   The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) reports to the Ministry of Tourism and Environment

Last updated: 08/06/2004

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