UNESCO adds 20 new sites to list of biosphere reserves

March 20, 2016
The Tajo River region between Portugal and Spain is one of 20 new UNESCO protected biosphere nature reserves
The Tajo River region between Portugal and Spain is one of 20 new UNESCO protected biosphere nature reserves

The United Nation's cultural body UNESCO has added 20 new sites to its network of protected biosphere nature reserves, including two in Canada and two in Portugal.

The status was conferred during a two-day meeting in Lima that ended Saturday, which brought the total number of biosphere reserves to 669 across 120 countries.

In Canada, the Tsa Tue area in the country's Northwest Territories that includes the last pristine arctic lake was added to the list, as was the Beaver Hills region of Alberta, which has a landscape formed by a retreating glacier.

Britain's Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea in a biologically diverse marine environment, and Mexico's Isla Cozumel were also selected for the network.

And in Portugal, the entire Island of Sao Jorge, the fourth largest in the Azores Archipelago, was designated a reserve in addition to the Tajo River region between Portugal and Spain.

The list of new UNESCO biosphere reserves also includes sites in Algeria, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines and Tanzania.

Of the hundreds of locations on the list, 16 are sites that stretch across more than one country. Spain is the country with the largest number of registered reserves.

During the meeting, nine extensions to existing biosphere reserves were also approved.

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