Establishing a Biosphere Reserve on the island of Samothraki, Greece: A transdisciplinary journey
On the Greek island of Samothraki an unconventional story unfolds, where under the rubric of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme, the Biosphere Reserve (BR) concept has been employed in order to propose and implement an alternative vision of local development from the bottom-up. After several years of research and communication efforts, an idea in the minds of regular visiting scientists was scrutinised by the local community and gradually shared with a wider group of inhabitants and the local authorities. The community council has endorsed an application to UNESCO and committed to pursue an operational plan in the direction of sustainability, inspired by and pertaining to the BR philosophy. From a policy perspective, this –still ongoing– process has generated a unique opportunity to pre-structure, observe and reflect on a process of evolving decision-making and management towards a sustainability transformation of an island.