Répertoire du personnel

Patricia Mergen



Man and Biosphere Reserves Network

The UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB), with 631 reserves in 119 countries, is an Intergovernmental Scientific Program to establish a scientific basis to improve relationships between people and their environments. Biosphere Reserves (BR) have 3 zones where scientists, NGOs, local communities work together (the core is mainly for long-term conservation and research, the buffer zone is for activities like environmental education, monitoring eco-tourism and research, the transition zone allows sustainable activities (agriculture, settlements) The concept of BRs is interesting to model sustainable development and to monitor ecosystem responses to global changes. Well-known as sensitive areas some tropical forest are already classified as BR. Recognizing the importance of this ecosystem across the world, in 2009, 3 institutions signed a MoC representing, Brazil, Indonesia and DR Congo addressing mainly capacity building, however the exchange of scientific information and joint trans-continental publications remains limited.

The main objective of  our project is to explore the various strategies and research priorities within the BRs and to facilitate knowledge and experience exchanges in order to become a model for sustainable development in ecosystem research. 

In MAB context, the partners are already active in the reserves of Luki and Yangambi in DR Congo. Due to their international collaborations and competences, they form a good basis to setup a wider MAB scientific experts networking platform to overcome the fragmentation in knowledge exchange. It is the ambition of this proposal to go however beyond Africa by including participation from other MAB areas. Particularly relevant, would be the comparison between the Congo and Amazonas Basins. Collaboration with Brazil is targeted. The Indonesian component will also be addressed, the UNSESCO MAB office agreed to support the participation of an Indonesian representative. Unless additional funding would be mobilized a visit to Indonesia is not foreseen.

The platform has a multidisciplinary scientific and socio-economical scope : Conservation, biodiversity and habitat loss, climate change, carbon intake, ecosystem services, land use and urbanization and involvement of the local communities.

Principaux investigateurs:

  • Hans Beeckman
  • Patricia Mergen
  • Dates:

    2016 2018

    Partenaires externes:

    Janssens, S. B., Co-promotor, Botanic Garden Meise

    Vermeulen, C., Co-promotor (University of Liège)

    Boeckx, P., Co-promotor (University of Gent)

    Verbeek, H. collaborator (University of Gent)

    Michel, B., Co-promotor (ERAIFT, DR Congo)