Sussex South Downs declared new UNESCO biosphere reserve

Murray-Ballard_5220 low-resThe Brighton and Lewes Downs have become the first place in the UK to be declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in nearly half a century

The Amazon rainforest of Brazil, the Galapagos islands of Ecuador, and now the South Downs of Sussex.

The link may sound unsuitable, but it shouldn’t. The Brighton and Lewes South Downs have just joined an illustrious group of UNESCO declared biosphere reserves – one of only 631 worldwide, and the first one to be awarded in the UK for forty years.

UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere programme is a global initiative that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of sustainable relationships between people and their environments. More than just offering protection and preservation, the award is intended to be a demonstration of the harmonious co-existence between a region’s people and their surrounding natural world.

The new reserve, one of only a handful worldwide to include a major populated area, covers almost 400km squared of land and sea between the river Adur at Shoreham and the river Ouse at Lewes and Newhaven. It connects city, countryside and coastal environments into a single unified ecosystem. And best of all it’s right on our doorstep.

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