This information sheet focuses on Buddhist and Christian monastic communities because monasticism has
been a characteristic feature of Buddhism and Christianity more so than of other mainstream faiths. Monastic
communities have nurtured sacred natural sites for over 2000 years in Asia, and for more than 1000 years in North and Eastern Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Monastic communities vary from a few to a few hundred individuals (males or females) where the principle of self-sufficient life is widespread. These are resilient, selforganized democratic communities with a continuous positive impact in nature conservation and sustainable land management.