The Fitzgerald Biosphere, the FBG and the FBCC

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The Fitzgerald Biosphere

The Fitzgerald River National Park was first nominated under UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme in 1978. The park is at the core of the biosphere. It is surrounded by a buffer of remnant bush. Beyond the Buffer Zone is the Transition Zone where our communities live. 

The total area covered by the Fitzgerald Biosphere is 1.53 million hectares. It encompasses the entire Shire of Jerramungup and most of the Shire of Ravensthorpe. There are nine biosphere reserves in Australia. The Fitzgerald Biosphere is the only one in Western Australia. 

The UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme defines a biosphere reserve as follows: 

“Biosphere reserves are areas comprising terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. Each reserve promotes solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use.

Biosphere reserves are ‘Science for Sustainability support sites’ – special places for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity.

Biosphere reserves are nominated by national governments and remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located. Their status is internationally recognized.

There are 686 biosphere reserves in 122 countries, including 20 transboundary sites.” 

For more information about the Man and Biosphere Programme go to

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/ecological-sciences/biosphere-reserves/

The FBG’s area of operation

The FBG operates in the Shire of Jerramungup on the western side of the Fitzgerald Biosphere reserve. Our sister group, Ravensthorpe Agricultural Initiative Network (RAIN) operates in the Ravensthorpe Shire on the eastern side of the biosphere.

Fitzgerald Biosphere Community Collective (FBCC)

The FBCC is made up of organisations that either manage land within the Fitzgerald Biosphere or support those who do. These organisations are:

  • FBG

  • RAIN

  • Shire of Jerramungup

  • Shire of Ravensthorpe

  • Friends of Fitzgerald River National Park

  • Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions

  • Community members

  • Noongar representatives

  • Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

  • Great Southern Development Commission

  • Regional Development Australia Great Southern

The criteria for biospheres to exist under the Man and Biosphere Programme changed in 2009, necessitating a review of the Fitzgerald Biosphere’s status. As part of this process the biosphere boundaries had to be redrawn and a series of other consultations had to be carried out. The Biosphere implementation Group (BIG) was formed in 2010 to do this. After many years of effort, the bid to renominate the Fitzgerald Biosphere was successful in June 2017. The relaunch and the 40th anniversary of the Fitzgerald Biosphere were celebrated in March 2018 in Hopetoun.

After the successful renomination, the BIG went through a strategic planning period throughout late 2017 and 2018. As a result of this process, the group restructured and renamed itself the Fitzgerald Biosphere Community Collective. The FBCC is now developing its governance and developing projects to work within the Biosphere. 

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