Asia and the Pacific
Baa Atol (Maldives)
The reef manta ray (Mobula alfredi) is an iconic species of the Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives. These huge fish gather in large groups to feed inside the lagoon. The interest and curiosity to learn more about these manta rays motivated the NGO Manta Trust to launch a project to research, collaborate and share knowledge about the conservation of these species, creating a safe space for the manta rays and for all other species in the reserve.
The Changbaishan Biosphere Reserve is located in the eastern part of the Eurasian continent, in the southeastern part of Jilin Province, China. It covers an area of 196,465 hectares, including 16 dormant and active volcanoes and their crater lakes. The highest peak on the Chinese side of Mount Changbai’s ridge is ‘White Cloud Peak’ at 2,691 m and in its caldera can be found ‘Heavenly Lake’, hot springs and waterfalls. In 1979, Changbaishan became one of the ﬁrst three biosphere reserves in the People’s Republic of China.
Dinghushan Biosphere Reserve is located near the Tropic of Cancer, which is typically characterised by a dry and hot climate, and a region of deserts, semideserts or arid grasslands. ‘The Green Jewel of the Tropic of Cancer’ refers to this exceptional southern subtropical monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest, maybe the oldest preserved forest in the country.
In southwest China lies the Gaoligong Mountain Biosphere Reserve. This mountain range rises about 4,000 m above sea level, with slopes covered with dense pine and oak forest. Renowned for its biological richness, the reserve is also characterized by a rich cultural diversity with 109 communities belonging to 16 nationalities living within its boundaries. The Gaoligong Mountain is also home to the black snub-nosed monkey, the ﬂagship species of the reserve.
Gunug Leuser (Indonesia)
Bordered by volcanoes, mineral pools, freshwater rivers and swamps, the Gunung Leuser Biosphere Reserve is home to unparalleled biodiversity. The orangutan, the Reserve's emblematic species, has been the driving force behind a concerted effort by scientists, local and international organisations, together with the communities living there, to restore the forest and thus Celebrate Life! Listen to the voices of the biosphere reserve's inhabitants in this podcast and discover stories about their daily life.
The Maolan Biosphere Reserve is renowned for its 'hugging trees' which cling tenaciously to the rocks of this mountain landscape. The rich biodiversity of this biosphere reserve also includes pheasants as well as orchids and magnolias. The Yao, Buyi and Shui indigenous peoples who live in this region value their environment and cohabit harmoniously with nature.
The Tianmu Mountain is situated within the Tianmushan Biosphere Reserve in eastern China. It is home to five unique specimens of Ostrya rehderiana, a tree known as the single child of the Earth. These few individuals comprise the total population of this species worldwide. Research is being carried out in the biosphere reserve on these trees to improve their conservation and to save it from extinction.