Sustainability Stories #14
Bel Ombre is one of over 700 biosphere reserves across the world. Without a doubt, it is indeed the ideal place for nature lovers who want to experience Mauritius' unique, diversified, and stunning natural heritage in its purest form. Here, every step is a surprise, and there are so many things to do and to see in the wilderness.
The Man and Biosphere Programme is an intergovernmental scientific initiative aimed at establishing a scientific foundation for improving people's relationships with their ecosystems. It combines ecological and social sciences with the goal of enhancing human livelihoods and protecting natural and controlled ecosystems, hence encouraging socially and culturally relevant and environmentally sustainable economic development.
Bel Ombre was designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Programme in 1977, covering approximately 8,600 hectares. The Reserve consist of three zones: the core area, the buffer and transitions zones. The Black River Gorges-Bel Ombre Reserve is also one of the world's most dense forests, with around 1,700 trees per hectare, all of which are larger than 10 cm in diameter. It acts as an important carbon sink for the island – through absorption of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Forests can usually store up to 45% of the organic carbon on land in their biomass and soils.
The Bel Ombre Biosphere Reserve is also home to 500 endemic species like the Mauritius Kestrel, Pink Pigeon and the Mauritius fruit-bat.
The theme for this year’s United Nations World Habitat Day is “Accelerating Urban Action for a Carbon-Free World.” On this occasion, Rogers wants to put forward the Bel Ombre region as a sanctuary that supports symbiosis between Man and Nature.