Tilba Environment Landcarers will discuss the option of making the Tilba area a 'biosphere' at a public forum in Central Tilba later this month.
The forum will be held at the Central Tilba Hall on Monday, October 17, from 1.30pm to 4pm to start a "conversation" about Biosphere Reserves and the possible future direction for the Tilba District.
"The Tilba District is renowned as one of the most beautiful parts of Australia with National Parks, beaches and rocky coves, plentiful birds, animals and plant life, productive agricultural land and rich Indigenous and modern history," Tilba Environment Landcarers vice president Mark Stubbings said.
"As a result, it is a popular place to live, work and play with tourists visiting the area each year to join local residents in the villages of Central Tilba, Tilba Tilba and Mystery Bay who enjoy the region year-round."
The Tilba District Chamber of Commerce held community consultation last year as part of developing a Strategic Plan for the area, and that consultation found there was a "strong community concern" for the protection and enhancement of the natural environment while balancing the need to live, work and play in the area in a sustainable way.
"That Strategic Plan is now being implemented and one key idea is to discuss how best to achieve the community's goal, including considering whether having the area declared as a Biosphere Reserve would be a valuable step in that direction," Mr Stubbings said.
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.
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.
"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.
"There are many Biosphere Reserves across the world. The latest Australian Biosphere Reserve, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, was declared in June this year where it joins two neighbouring Reserves in Noosa and the Fraser Island area."
Speakers at the public forum include Professor Peter Bridgewater from ANU who has previously worked wit UNESCO, and David Moore from the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
The event is jointly being hosted by Tilba Environment Landcarers and the Tilba District Chamber of Commerce. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Mark Stubbings at email@example.com.