Obtawaing Biosphere Region: Exploring the Expansion & Redefinement of a Biosphere Region

TitleObtawaing Biosphere Region: Exploring the Expansion & Redefinement of a Biosphere Region
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsJiménez DFernández, La Russo-Frederickson S
Academic DepartmentSchool for Sustainability and Environment
UniversityUniversity of Michigan
Thesis TypeMasters

The University of Michigan (U-M) Biological Station Biosphere Reserve (BR) has been
expanded, redefined, and re-named to the Obtawaing Biosphere Reserve (OBR) following its
10-year United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) periodic
review. OBR is part of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and seeks to
establish a scientific basis for enhancing the relationship between people and their environments. It
combines the natural and social sciences with a view of improving human livelihoods and
safeguarding natural and managed ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic
development that are socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable. This
expansion will expand the core regions, buffer zones, and transition areas of the MAB Programme
BR layout. This expansion will allow collaboration with various partners including but not limited to
local land conservancies, academic institutions, governmental agencies, and tribal communities. Due
to this expansion, this research team will help OBR understand the needs of its various partners,
research other BR practices, geovisualize the region, and support administrative tasks. Methods that
were used to answer these objectives included informal conversations with partners in-person and
virtually, site visits of the region, online research through websites, reports, and academic articles on
national and international BRs, and visualizing the environment and its inhabitants through ArcGIS.
This helped support OBR and the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program
during its redefinement and strategic planning process by continuing to push the project forward
and create the space to have much needed conversations.