Introduction- The Biosphere Reserve Project

by Hop.e Hopkins

18 Jan 2012

Border Ranges Biosphere Reserve

The biosphere includes the whole living and breathing layer of our planet..

What is the BIOSPHERE?

The Biosphere is the mantle of atmosphere/air, water and earth that surrounds our planet Earth and which along with the constant stream of energy radiated from the Sun, has given rise to, and sustains life. More than half the life on earth resides below the surface of earth and water.


What is the Border Ranges Biogeographic Region?

The BRBR may ultimately be that area of land and water in NE NSW and SE QLD which is comprised of Ballina, Byron Bay, Lismore, Kyogle, Tweed and the Gold Coast Cities and Shires.



The Mt. Warning Shield Volcano Erosion Caldera is the remnant of a much higher shield volcano that has been heavily eroded by wind blown moisture from the South Pacific Ocean. The combination of high rainfall and mineral rich soil has given rise to lush rainforest vegetation with high biomass and biodiversity. The junction of the Border Ranges and the McPherson Ranges is called a biodiversity ‘hotspot’ and has been nominated as the geographic centre for the Border Ranges Rainforest Biodiversity Management Plan. UNESCO World Heritage ‘Gondwana’ Rainforests fringe the Mt Warning Caldera.


What is the Border Ranges Biosphere Reserve Project?

The BRBR is an evolving project hosted by the Caldera Environment Centre and supported by the Tweed Shire Council, to develop a local UNESCO Biosphere Reserve centred on the Mt Warning Erosion Caldera. The ultimate boundaries and government composition is yet to be determined.

The broad template follows the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme but the detail will be shaped by a consensual committee process involving local community groups and corporations with the co-operation of the three levels of government within Australia, and the United Nations internationally.




Ecological sustainability and Intergenerational Equity implies a system of husbandry and stewardship of our finite natural resources that strives to voluntarily limit consumption so that natural ecosystems can maintain a natural balance in order that future generations are not disadvantaged.

“Living simply so that others may simply live”.



The Ecological Footprint Index is a numerical calibration which attempts to compare lifestyle or natural resource consumption rates world-wide expressed as the number of planet earths to maintain our current rates of consumption. (Australia’s is second only to the USA).


Why is BIODIVERSITY so essential for human health and wellbeing?

Humans are part of our whole ecosystem and depend on the healthy activity of a myriad (many millions) of creatures including microscopic bacteria, fungi and viruses, etc. It is generally believed that the more complex the ecosystem (the Greater the biodiversity) the more sustainable and stable our life-support matrix.


Why is GLOBAL WARMING so critical for future health and wellbeing?

Global Warming has become our dominant problem because over consumption of fossil carbon for fuel and industry has resulted in massive global emissions of greenhouse gases like methane and CO2. By trapping the constant energy, inflow radiated by the sun within the earth’s biosphere, humans have caused temperatures to increase. Melting ice caps, retreating glaciers warming and acidifying oceans, rising sea levels and increasing extreme weather events (in intensity and frequency) are some of the accelerating threats to biosphere stability, health and equanimity



The Carbon Footprint Index is the numerical comparative rate of the amount of carbon consumed by different nations and industrial sectors around the globe, frequently quoted in tonnes of emissions of carbon or CO2.


Is long term continuing ECONOMIC GROWTH possible?

What are the costs/risks?

Continuous growth is an oxymoron. No earthly organic system or entity can keep growing indefinitely using finite resources. Viruses and cancers can grow at exponential rates but ultimately they end up killing the host medium or out-competing supporting or proximate life systems.

In order to sustain a growing human population we must devise more efficient low energy systems of production and sustenance. The challenge for the 21st century is to devise a low carbon steady state economy that minimises inputs and maximises outputs (without pollution).

True economy, like elegance, wit and grace depends on achieving the most with the least.

When less is more and more is less, more or less.

Hop.e Hopkins

Jan 2012

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