December 2002 – UNESCO headquarters in Paris announced that it has honoured the Mongolian government’s request to include Hustai National Park to its list of ‘Man and Biosphere Reserves (MAB).’ This highly respected list consists of those nature reserves that combine conservation of biodiversity with ecosystem management.
Actually a ‘Man and Biosphere Reserve’ consists of a fully protected core area that is bordered by a section in which socio-economical activities are allowed, provided that these activities do not interfere with the interest of the core area or upset the ecological balance of the whole area. This zone must be regarded as a ‘buffer’, which shields the biodiversity of the core area. The area that is situated at a much greater distance from the core area is open to further socio-economical developments: the so-called ‘development area.’
Hustai National Park is the 50,000 ha fully protected core area. In 2000 the Mongolian government settled the size of the buffer zone. The area is 462,000 ha large. In 2001 the staff of Hustai National Park in close collaboration with the Buffer Zone Council developed a buffer zone management plan. The recognition of Hustai as a MAB by UNESCO and the spatial approach of land use is a good basis for the further development of the region.