UNESCO requires every Biosphere to be made up of three zones

The Core areas lie at the heart of the Biosphere and include extensive areas of mountain, moorland, freshwater lochs and rivers. They are home to a wide range of scarce wildlife including iconic species like golden eagle, red deer and wild goats.

The Buffer zone of Galloway Forest Park is a working landscape managed to protect the natural heritage of the core areas. The area offers tremendous recreational opportunities in dramatic landscapes. Activities compatible with good ecological practices are encouraged and include facilities like the 7Stanes mountain bike routes and the Dark Sky Park viewing areas.

The Transition area is the part of the Biosphere Reserve where people live and can work together to make the best use of our local resources. Such as the development of low energy housing, environmentally friendly farming, and nature based tourism.