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Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve, United States of America

The Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve is a partnership of 13 protected areas in the greater San Francisco Bay area. It extends through the central California coastal region from the Bodega Research Reserve in the north to Jasper Ridge in the south and includes the Farallon Islands, Angel Island and Alcatraz within the San Francisco Bay.

Designation date: 1988


Regional network:  EuroMab

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 212,022 ha

    • Core area(s): 212,022 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): N/A
    • Transition zone(s): N/A

    Location: 37° to 38°N, 122°W

    Administrative Authorities

    Alison Forestel
    Golden Gate National Recreation Area, NPS
    United States of America

    Tel.: N/A


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    Ecological Characteristics

    The Golden Gate Biosphere reserve is Situated on both sides of the San Andreas Fault. Each side has a completely different type of bedrock and the western side of the rift is moving northward.
    Habitats in the biosphere reserve are diverse and include mixed evergreen forests, redwood forests, Douglas fir forests, Bishop pine forests, oak forests, woodlands and savannas, coastal scrub, chaparral, coastal dune, coastal strand, tidepools, kelp forests, grasslands and marshes.

    The associated fauna is also rich with cougars, Tule elk, California sea lions, elephant seals, many shorebirds and the California red-legged frog.



    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    The Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve is unique in that it spans marine, coastal, and upland resources adjacent to a major metropolitan area, and thus provides easy access to outdoor education and recreation for the inhabitants of the San Francisco Bay metropolitan area. The area supports many recreational activities such as sport fisheries, hiking, bicycling and whale watching.

    The biosphere reserve is organized under an association with three councils, which are responsible for management, science and education projects. For instance, members cooperate on tidal pool monitoring and public education in the area of Mt. Tamalpais State Park. Another joint activity is the Coho salmon restoration project which requires habitat inventorying and mapping of several critical watersheds. The biosphere reserve also cooperates with the Iroise Biosphere Reserve (France) in a comparison of coastal ecosystem recovery after human use changes. Research covers topics such as the management of commercially important resources (e.g. fisheries), threats to ecosystems (e.g. oil spills, pollutants, and invasive species) and episodic events (e.g. fires and climate extremes).



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    Last updated: July 2019