Channel Islands Biosphere Region

A sheephead swims through a kelp forest near Santa Cruz Island
A sheephead swims through a kelp forest near Santa Cruz Island. Photo: Robert Schwemmer/NOAA

The Channel Islands Biosphere Region was established in 1976 within UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere program. The Channel Islands Biosphere Region encompasses a wide spectrum of marine habitats (e.g., estuarine, intertidal, and deep ocean), as well as terrestrial ecosystems (e.g., chaparral, coastal prairie scrub, wetlands, woodlands, grasslands, and offshore Channel Islands). It also encompasses urban and multi-use managed areas, with over 1.3 million people living within the adjacent counties of Santa Barbara and Ventura. The region also supports productive commercial and recreational fishing communities, maritime commerce, and sustainable tourism industries.

Through a collaborative approach, the Channel Islands Biosphere Region protects the natural and cultural resources of the dynamic Channel Islands and associated mainland communities through conservation, education, research and monitoring, and sustainable development.

Partnerships between Channel Islands Biosphere Region managers and communities adjacent to and within the reserve provides a critical network for coordinating regional and local stakeholder engagement, sustainable development for local economies, and environmental training for current and future leaders.

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is a supporting partner of the Channel Islands Biosphere Region.

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