UNESCO Biosphere Reserves are a business launched by UNESCO in 1976 for the purpose of balancing the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems. Regions regarded as models of achieving a symbiosis between nature and human society get registered as reserves.
The Sobo-Katamuki-Okue mountain range that spans across Oita and Miyazaki prefectures is made up of steep, mountainous terrain and beautiful valleys, offering unique, undisturbed natural scenery. It is also a precious area, and a home for a treasure trove of rare plants and animals such as the Japanese serow, iwame salmon, akebono-tsutsuji azalea, and oyama-renge magnolia. The local councils of the areas around the Sobo-Katamuki-Okue mountain range (Oita prefecture: Saiki City, Bungo-ono City, Taketa City; Miyazaki prefecture: Nobeoka City, Takachiho Town, Hinokage Town) worked together to acknowledge the area as one where people lived alongside, protected, and made use of their natural surroundings, and earned recognition as a Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO Bureau of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) in June 2017.
UNESCO Biosphere Reserves are established into three regions for purposes of preservation, academic research, and economic and social development.