What is a biosphere?

Biospheres explore local solutions to global challenges. These biopheres are designated under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. They seek answers on how to create a sustainable future for people and nature.

So in fact, biosphere are living experiments, helping the world to survive into the future.


They’ve been around a while: in fact, back in the 1930s, UNESCO (United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organisation) first planned to create a world-wide network of biospheres, to try to find ways of addressing the threats to the ‘living biosphere’ (plants, animals and micro-organisms) and healthy ecosystems, while helping to still meet the needs of people.

Today there are 669 biospheres across 120 countries. Together they bring 680 million hectares of land, coastline and sea into areas seeking to find solutions to reconcile nature and people.

BiosphereS are guided by these strategic objectives, as set out in the MAB Programme:

These biospheres have 3 zones: core, buffer and transition areas.

In these areas, biospheres integrate biological and cultural diversity, recognising the role of traditional and local knowledge in managing ecosystems. They are based on a multi-stakeholder approach. Key here is involving local communities in management and governance.


To conserve biodiversity, restore and enhance ecosystem services, and foster the sustainable use of natural resources.


To contribute to building sustainable, healthy and equitable societies, economies and thriving human settlements in harmony with the biosphere.


To facilitate biodiversity and sustainability science, education for sustainable development and capacity building.


To support mitigation and adaptation to climate change and other aspects of global environmental change.

Here there are no fences keeping nature in and people out.

In fact, biospheres capture the commitment of communities to conservation to ensure their generations to come will enjoy a healthy environment and live a sustainable lifestyle.


Wetlands and strategic water sources

Wetlands and strategic water sources

Our Kogelberg Biosphere water systems are a delicate web of wetlands, rivers, dams and aquifers. These components are constantly in flux, and interact with one another in complicated ways. If the 2018 drought taught us anything, it’s that fresh and clean water

Restoring our threatened fynbos through partnerships

Restoring our threatened fynbos through partnerships

Invasive alien clearing in the Kogelberg Biosphere is gaining momentum. Currently we have two teams working for the Kogelberg Biosphere, removing invasive plants off some of our Critically Endangered vegetation.

Biosphere Living

Become a Kogelberg Biosphere member – and enjoy benefits specially designed to assist you and/or your business.


You can take the next step, to become even more involved in the Kogelberg Biosphere.

And remember to include us in your social media posts, by using the hashtag: #BiosphereLiving.