12 October 2022

Forum plans to discuss possibility of Tilba becoming biosphere reserve

| Albert McKnight
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Cows grazing

Cows graze in the shadow of Najanuga near Tilba. Photo: Eurobodalla Tourism Facebook.

The beautiful town of Tilba, with its stunning sacred mountains and rolling green fields, has taken its first steps towards becoming a biosphere reserve.

The Tilba District Chamber of Commerce undertook community consultation last year as part of a strategic plan for the area.

The group found strong community concern for the protection and enhancement of the natural environment of the Tilba district, while also balancing the need to be able to live, work and play in the area in a sustainable way for the benefit of current and future generations.

The strategic plan is now being implemented and one key idea, proposed by the Tilba Environment Landcarers, includes considering whether to have the area declared as a biosphere reserve.

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“Biosphere reserves are UNESCO-endorsed areas of terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems managed with the aim of balancing biodiversity, conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources,” chairman of a Tilba Chamber of Commerce subcommittee Mark Stubbings said.

“The aim of a biosphere reserve is to safeguard natural ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as to improve human livelihoods and protect ecosystems managed for human use.

“The reserves promote environmentally sustainable economic development which is socially and culturally appropriate.”

There are many biosphere reserves across the world, and Australia’s latest was declared in June on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, where it joins two neighbouring reserves in Noosa and the Fraser Island area.

“Biosphere reserves are not another layer of bureaucracy – quite the opposite,” Mr Stubbings said. ”The decision to become and then abide by the ethos of a biosphere reserve is a community-driven process.”

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To start the conversation about biosphere reserves and to discuss the possible future direction for the Tilba district, a forum will be held at Central Tilba Hall on 17 October from 1:30 pm to 4 pm following a free lunch from 12:45 pm.

Speakers will include Professor Peter Bridgewater from the Australian National University, who has years of experience working with UNESCO and engaging with accredited biosphere reserves, and Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s David Moore, who will explain the process and the council’s reasons for becoming an accredited reserve.

To attend, RSVP to Mr Stubbings by emailing [email protected].

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