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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999


An Occasional Column of Online Resources
Ecological-Research Information Resources. Part 2: U.S. and International Programs

An occasional column
on Internet resources
Fred Stoss
Science and Engineering Library
State University
of New York at Buffalo
Edited by F. O'Hara, Jr.

Item #d99apr48

Last month’s GCC Online described the purpose, scope, establishment, and structure of the international Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program, which is organized in four groups covering different regions of the world. The Western Hemisphere’s MABNet America’s grouping includes the U.S. component of MAB, the U.S. MAB, which has 47 biosphere reserves and a website at

U.S. MAB is an interdisciplinary research effort directed toward providing information for the solution of natural resources and environmental issues. The administrative Secretariat of the U.S. MAB Program is in the Office of Ecology and Terrestrial Conservation (ETC) of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) of the U.S. Department of State. For further information contact: U.S. MAB Secretariat, Suite 107, SA 44-C, OES/ETC/MAB, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, 20522-4401; tel: 202-776-8318; fax: 202-776-8367; e-mail:; WWW:

The U.S. National Committee is the national policymaking body for the Man and the Biosphere Program. Thirteen institutional members are represented on the National Committee:

  • Agency for International Development
  • Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
  • Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management
  • Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division
  • Department of the Interior, National Park Service
  • Department of State
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Science Foundation
  • Peace Corps
  • Smithsonian Institution

The U.S. Biosphere Reserves Directory (revised June 1998; available at provides the name, location, address, phone number, e-mail address, URL, and point of contact for each MAB biosphere reserve. Each biosphere reserve maintains its own inventory of biological reserves and supports its own research agendas, data and information products, and publications (technical reports, directories, metadata, newsletters, etc.).

The Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest ( is an example of such a MAB Biosphere Reserve. Hubbard Brook is perhaps the best known of the U.S. MAB sites, having served as a critical site for research related to the ecological impacts resulting from an acidification of our environment through the phenomenon commonly referred to as acid rain. The Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest is in the White Mountain National Forest, near North Woodstock, New Hampshire. The Hubbard Brook program is dedicated to the long-term study of forest and associated aquatic ecosystems. The HBEF was established in 1955 as a major center for hydrologic research in New England and is now operated by the USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. An examination of this website will unveil a wealth of data and information resources that assist the research scientist, educator, student, and others in need of scientifically sound sources of critical environmental data and information.

Hubbard Brook is one of the MAB sites that also serves a one of the 21-member U.S. Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program, which has a website at The program was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1980 to further demonstrate and support the need for ecological research in the United States. The U.S. LTER consists of more than 1100 researchers and students investigating the interactions of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems as influenced by natural and human activities over long temporal and broad spatial scales. Just as with the MAB sites, LTER research sites (about which information can be found at produce a vast array of ecological data and information. Each LTER site should be examined to investigate its publications, data holdings, data and information services, and information-management strategies. For additional information about the LTER program, contact: Long Term Ecological Research Network Office, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 87131-1091; tel: 505-272-7316; e-mail:; WWW:

The U.S. LTER Network held a meeting on international networking. This meeting brought together ecological scientists from around the world to focus their attention on ecological research conducted over long temporal and large spatial scales. The International Long-Term Ecological Research (ILTER) network was then created. It has a website at As of December 1998, there are more than 260 LTER sites in 17 countries; a list can be found at

Within MAB are several special programs of interest. The Biosphere Reserve Integrated Monitoring Program (BRIM; seeks to improve access to scientific data available in the biosphere reserves. Biodiversity inventories and monitoring activities are continually being modified and improved by adopting standardized information-management systems.

The U.S. MAB Program (U.S. MAB) and the Smithsonian Institution MAB Program (SI/MAB) have collaborated to develop an integrated package of several data-management systems to facilitate long-term or regional analyses of comparable, standardized data sets.

MAB has also underwritten the development and application of two major database-development initiatives. In cooperation with the Information Center for the Environment (ICE; at the University of California at Davis, the MABFauna and MABFlora databases were designed to obtain representative-species lists and data from more than 350 protected areas in more than 80 countries worldwide. This database is by country, by reserve, or by the scientific name of a species.

MABFauna, which has an anonymous ftp address at, is a computer program designed to allow users to input, edit, retrieve, and create checklists and reports of vertebrate inventory data. The database provides a metadata standard for additional information, including species status, the source and reliability of species information, and the level and form of data documentation.

MABFauna comes with a companion program, Observe, which allows the user to input, manage, and retrieve information on individual observations of vertebrates, such as location of observation, habitat, behavior, breeding status, and appearance. Observe is a database for biologists monitoring populations through time and is highly user- configurable.

Data entered into MABFauna and Observe may be exported into any data-management software compatible with dBase III+ or a into any of a large number of other software environments. MABFauna is written in FoxPro for DOS, Version 2.6.

A companion database, MABFlora ( serves as inventory and monitoring software for vascular plants. MABFlora is available for the United States, Canada, Russia, Europe, and East Africa.

Additional MAB websites of interest include a publications site that can be found at It lists book and digest series and newsletters, such as the Biosphere Reserves Bulletin of the World Network at and the Newsletter of South-South Co-operation on Environmentally Sound Socio-Economic Development in the Humid Tropics at Wall charts on biodiversity can be viewed at and ordered directly from MAB for information and education purposes.

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