Virginia’s Coastal Ecosystem Protection Program
The United Nations has cited The Nature Conservancy's Virginia Coast Reserve as a Biosphere Reserve—a designation reserved for the world's most important ecosystems. Biosphere reserves are intended to show how humans should live with nature. In a biosphere reserve, significant biological resources are protected in a core natural area. In an adjoining buffer zone, local people develop a productive and sustainable economic base through the wise use of their lands and waters. The Virginia Shore is one of the most important natural ecosystems in the eastern United States, and an area of global environmental significance. The Conservancy's 20-year history of conservation action on Virginia's Eastern Shore provides a strong foundation for building a successful biosphere reserve. To manage a biosphere reserve, it is necessary to know how the coastal ecosystem works, how the ecosystem is changing over time, and how human land-use practices might be modified to keep the ecosystem healthy over time.