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German non-profit studies potential for setting up biosphere reserves in Oman

Wider spin-offs: Six-month study can contribute to sustainable tourism development in Sultanate of Oman
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Germany-based nature conservation foundation Succow Stiftung says it is exploring opportunities for the establishment of the first Biosphere Reserve in the Sultanate of Oman – an initiative that will also have positive ramifications for the growth of sustainable tourism development in the country.

The well-known non-profit currently oversees nature conservation projects on four continents. Its broad remit includes initiatives related to climate protection, conservation of protected areas, sustainable land use and the promotion of young people.

“Biosphere reserves as recognised models and learning sites for sustainable development can play a significant role for testing proven and developing adapted approaches for alternative sustainable income in the Sultanate of Oman, in order to sustain rural livelihoods and to decrease the pressure on natural ecosystems,” the Foundation said.

“Oman does not -- so far -- have established biosphere reserves. However, biosphere reserves could serve as an innovative instrument to establish sustainable nature tourism as source of revenue, in-country and from abroad. Participation of local communities into sustainable tourism conceptualization and implementation has proven to be means for local income generation,” the non-profit stated in an introductory note posted on its website.

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Protected areas in the Sultanate in Oman that will be studied for their Biosphere Reserves potential include Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar Natural Landscape Reserve and Khor Kharfout Archaeological Reserve, the Foundation noted.

Significantly, the six month-long study is backed by the German development agency GIZ in line with its objectives to support knowledge transfer on low emission strategies on behalf of the federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV).

Succow Stiftung was established in 1999 by well-known German academic and environmental activist Michael Succow who set up the foundation with the prize money of the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, awarded to him two years earlier.

The foundation is credited with helping develop and maintain a number of national parks and biosphere reserves in the former Soviet states. In Germany, Succow Stiftung has around 10 nature reserves under its care. The foundation has since grown to a team of over 30 international nature conservation specialists with expertise spanning the protection of desertlands to peatlands.


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