The Kerry UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (formerly Killarney National Park Biosphere Reserve) has retained its designation following the submission of a detailed Periodic Review prepared by McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan on behalf of Kerry County Council and NPWS.
Biosphere reserves are renowned for exceptional environments and are an internationally recognised ‘badge’ for excellence in sustainable development. Killarney National Park was awarded UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status in 1982 due to the high ecological diversity, extensive habitats and range of wildlife found within the park. There is just one other biosphere reserve in Ireland, the Dublin Bay Biosphere.
As part of the Periodic Review, it was proposed to significantly increase the scale of the reserve to incorporate areas of the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Lough Leanne catchment. Different zones were also proposed to reflect the protections and sustainable management practices in place in Co. Kerry. The process required significant consultation with local communities and interest groups and a new name, the Kerry UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, was recommended to reflect the proposed changes.
UNESCO’s Man And Biosphere Council confirmed the decision at a meeting in Paris and the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys recently congratulated the Periodic Review team.