What are Biosphere Reserves?
Biosphere Reserves are an internal designation allocated by UNESCO. These sites promote solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. They are learning areas for sustainable development under diverse ecological, social and economic contexts, touching the lives of more than 250 million people.
There are currently 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries across the globe, with 7 within the UK.
Read more about Biosphere Reserves.
In 2019, The Forest of Dean District Council became the first rural council within the UK to declare a climate change emergency followed by a biodiversity emergency in 2020. With a goal for the District to be netzero by 2030.
The initial project seeks to educate and increase public awareness on a Biosphere Reserve and the local benefits.
This project builds upon the work undertaken in 2019 for FEP by the Office for National Statistics which established that under the most prudent approach a Biosphere Reserve option for the district yields a Benefit-Cost Ratio of 3.89:1.
Read the full report.
Depending on the public perception of the Biosphere Reserve, FEP will work with other stakeholders to submit an application to UNESCO to become designated as Biosphere Reserve.
In January 2020, the Biosphere Reserve Action Group submitted a bid the the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding for the community and stakeholder engagement works to be carried out. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the Heritage Lottery Funding was withdrawn to be redirected to support ongoing projects.
Following this news, the Biosphere Reserve Action Group amended their proposal to the stakeholders on their approach this engagement, which sought approval for a bid to submitted to Arts Council England for just under £12,400. The bid will commission 1 lens-based and 1 audio-based artist to engage the Forest of Dean (FoD) community in a creative interpretation of landscape & place through film, photography & digital media. Titled, "The Forest We Want"
In May 2021, FEP were award funding from Arts Council England to create a community engagement campaign.
Opportunity - Elemental Forest
Forest Economic Partnership looked commission 2 artists to engage the Forest of Dean (FoD) community in a creative interpretation of landscape & place through an artist’s film and an audio work.
- The term ‘film’ is used to describe a moving image work of any style – documentary, experimental; animation; performance – as long as it meets the needs of the project.
- The term ‘audio’ could be a podcast; a song; a story; interviews; performance - as long as it meets the needs of the project.
The project focuses public attention on the potential of a Biosphere Reserve (BR) designation for FoD. BRs are areas comprising terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems, with a key aim of seeking to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. They are sites of excellence for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems.
These commissions was awarded to Steve Geliot and Elle Ireland in June 2021
The video and content will be available from 4 October 2021.
As a part of the project, it is important for FEP to gauge public opinion on the concept of a Biosphere Reserve for the Forest of Dean. As such a survey produced by FEP will be circulated with the video and audio commission.