The North Devon Biosphere is a place where people and nature come together in our world-class environment of dunes, grassland and moors, towns and villages, and coast and sea. We are proud to be a UNESCO World Biosphere and our mission is to connect people and nature to inspire a positive future today. 

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Nature Recovery Plan

The Biosphere has launched an ambitious new Nature Recovery Plan as part of our contribution to tackling the ecological emergency here in northern Devon, aligning with the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and the Prime Minister’s pledge for 30% of the UK land to be protected by 2030. The plan includes five action plans which details the priorities for the key land types in the Biosphere. 

Please sign the Nature Recovery Declaration to pledge your support for nature’s recovery in northern Devon. 



1. This plan is the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere’s response to the global ecological emergency. It sets out the priority actions required from 2021-25 to move towards our 2030 Vision for nature’s recovery across northern Devon. It covers the terrestrial, freshwater and the intertidal habitats of the Biosphere’s core area, buffer and transition zones, while actions for the marine environment are set out in the Biosphere’s Marine Natural Capital Plan.

2. The plan addresses the root causes of nature’s decline by prioritising making more and better space for nature over 30% of the Biosphere in the areas where it will make most difference, and building nature’s recovery into productive farming and forestry across the entire landscape as well as in towns and villages. It will help address the climate emergency through increasing natural resilience (adaptation) and carbon storage and sequestration (mitigation).

3. The plan presents actions to support communities and businesses, and particularly farmers and landowners/managers to be at the heart of nature’s recovery. Responsibility for promoting delivery of the actions lies with the Biosphere’s partners through its Nature Improvement Group which will monitor and report on implementation. Progress will be assessed annually and an evaluation will take place in 2025, when the plan will be fully updated for 2026-30. Meanwhile, the plan will remain a “living” document, being strengthened as new information becomes available.

4. The following five action plans detail the priorities for the key land types in the Biosphere. Priority actions within each plan include: a) safeguarding and enhancing existing areas of wildlife-rich habitats and restoring / wilding /creating new areas to make larger and better connected habitat networks; b) actions to enhance populations of priority or declining species (including Devon Special Species) and to reintroduce species that have been lost (subject to detailed feasibility studies and licensing); c) enabling actions through policies, regulations, incentives and community engagement; d) monitoring and research.



Almost all of the land covered by this action plan is being used for agricultural production. The focus is to support farmers with incentives and advice to: a) retain and manage existing areas of wildlife rich habitats; b) restore or convert some areas of their land back to wildlife rich habitat; c) integrate measures for nature’s recovery into the rest of their productive land. Specific priorities include:




5. The plan does not attempt to cost the individual actions but recognises that a blended stream of funding from different sources will be required for implementation (some of which is available now, and some which will emerge during the plan period). Some actions will require targeted project funding, and the identified partner organisations will work together to secure this. Innovative funding streams such as green finance, carbon and biodiversity trading are also expected to play an increasing role, topping up funds from more traditional sources such as existing and new agri-environment schemes, voluntary inputs and private financing. 



Biosphere Business Partner

As part of the EU-funded bicultural heritage tourism project, North Devon Biosphere have launched the free Biosphere Business Partner (BBP) Eco accreditation scheme.

Our plan to create positive change for North Devon

The UNESCO World Biosphere designation is our unique selling point as a region.

The Biosphere Business Partner Scheme provides the opportunity for businesses to share that they are proud to be part of the world class area, by being part of a sustainable business network that looks after the very assets that attract 80% of the visitors, as well as each other. 

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