World Facts

Largest Biosphere Reserves In Canada

Canada has 5 biosphere reserves over 1 million hectares in size.

Biosphere reserves are regions with coastal, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. They have animals and plants of unusual natural and scientific interests. They are labeled by UNESCO labels these reserve with their primary goal being protecting these regions. UNESCO started building a network of reserves in 1971. Currently, there are about 669 biosphere reserves in one hundred and twenty Nations with eighteen of them in Canada. Canada has some of the most significant Biospheres reserves in the World which they have preserved over the last four decades.

5. Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve

Bordering Saint Lawrence River on the northern side, Charlevoix is approximately 49.7miles east of Quebec, Canada. The region has mixed and coniferous forests, mountain tundra and stunted vegetation ecosystems, rivers, agricultural area and estuarine tidal marshes, bays, headlands. UNESCO designated Charlevoix to be a global Biosphere reserve in 1988. It occupies an area of about 3,187,659acres. The topography of this region was changed by the meteorite impact which created the Charlevoix crater over 350 million years ago. It was named after a French Jesuit explorer known as Pierre Charlevoix, who traveled in this region during the 18th century. Some of the plants thriving in the maple forest include mixed fir, Cornusalternifolia, Acer, pensylvanicum, elm, alder, and paper birch. In 1988 over 30,000 people were living in Charlevoix. Previously the population relied on the sea and the rivers, but currently, the main factors affecting the economic landscape in this region include tourism, agriculture, silica mining and forestry.

4. Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve

It is a world biosphere reserve which UNESCO designated in 1986. The reserve which includes about twelve municipalities and Riding Mountain National Park is one of the eighteen Canadian Biosphere reserves. It is approximately 186miles to the northwestern side of Winnipeg Manitoba. Riding mountain is on the junction between Boreal forest and grassland biome. Even though the grassland part occupies 18,286acres of the total 3,290,949acres, it is still a very crucial part of the reserve since it exists in distinctive units. It also includes some agricultural regions which were either grasslands or forests. The forest is home to some of the mammals in Canada like the coyote, gray wolf, American Bison and Black Bear. The offsprings of Ojibwa nations occupy the small Indian reserves within Transition area. The other parts are mainly settled by individuals of English, Scandinavian, French and Ukrainian descent. The number of permanent residence within the core regions of the reserve is at the warden stations which is at the forest’s periphery. During summer a large number of cabin owner occupy a part of Wasagaming town. At peak period the region can have a population of about 15,000 people.

3. Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve

It is in the southwestern parts of Nova Scotia, Canada. The Atlantic Ocean bounds the reserve to the east and Fundy Bay to the north. UNESCO designated the area in 2001, and it occupies an area of about 3,821,173acres which includes five counties. The five counties in the reserve include Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens, Digby and Annapolis which have a population of over 100,000. An impressive heritage and rural livelihoods characterize the area. The core protection region of the reserve includes the Tobeatic Wilderness area and Kejimkujik National park. Researchers have used the for intensive research for a decade because of its unique fauna and flora. The forests are classified as Acadian forest (one of the eight primary forests kinds in Canada). Some of the tree species here include White ash, White birch, Sugar maple, Red oak, White pine and Red spruce among others. Even though much of the biodiversity is made up of a mixed wood forest, warmer regions account for numerous south originating species like the Southern flying squirrel, Northern ribbon snake, Blanding’s turtle and water pennywort.

2. Manicouagan – Uapishka Biosphere Reserve

Its landscape is dominated by Manicouagan reservoir on the northern side and St Lawrence River on the southern part creating a circle which is visible from a distance. They are connected by various rivers which flow in the forests. UNESCO designated the biosphere reserve in 2007. It was created by patient erosion which lasted for thousands of centuries plus collision of meteorites, an ancient sea, and a crushing passage of glaciers which helped smoothen the area. The meteorite impact resulted in the circular lakes and craters in the biosphere. The hinterland has a vast dry plateau, and its surface is made up of hills separated by rectilinear valleys. Groulx mountains massif which has over thirty hills surrounds the hinterland of the reserve. The marshes here are very productive, and they act as a central resting place for over two hundred migratory birds. Some of the animal species in the Manicouagan Uapishka include Beluga whale, Wolverine, Golden eagle, Short-eared owl, Weasel, and Cougar.The largest city in the 13,541,375acres reserve is Baie-Comeau which has a population of about 23,000 people. The primary economic activities in the region are merchant shipping, commercial fisheries, mining, agriculture and timber transformation. It also has an Indian reserve which is inhabited by approximately 2,500 people.

1. Tsá Tué Biosphere Reserve

Tsa Tue is in the northwestern territories of Canada, and it is home to the Bear lake people (Sahtuto’ine). The residential site in the reserve is on the shores of the Great Bear Lake. It is occupied by the Dene community which is made up of approximately 600 people. The culture of the Dene is tied to the animals in the reserve, the watershed, and the lake’s health. The 23,058,144acres Tsa Tue encompasses pristine arctic lake and Great Bear Lake. UNESCO designated this reserve in 2016.The reserve includes the Great Bear Lake which is the biggest Canadian lake. It also has three eco-zones: the Taiga shield on the southeastern part which consists of the Camsell River drainage region, the Taiga plains to the western side, and the south Arctic eco-zone. The land within these eco-zones can be divided into nine eco-regions and twenty-two eco-districts. These small regions have a unique combination of biological communities, climate, soils, permafrost and landforms which gives them their distinctive character. The unpolluted water in the reserve provides an ecosystem which supports the lives of various species including Muskox, Moose, Barren-ground Caribou and Grizzly bears.

Largest Biosphere Reserves in Canada

RankNameProvince/TerritoryEstablishedSize (hectares)
1Tsá Tué Biosphere ReserveNorthwest Territories20169331300
2Manicouagan – Uapishka Biosphere ReserveQuebec20075480000
3Southwest Nova Biosphere ReserveNova Scotia20011546374
4Riding Mountain Biosphere ReserveManitoba19861331000
5Charlevoix Biosphere ReserveQuebec19881290000
6Lac Saint-Pierre Biosphere ReserveQuebec2000650490
7Fundy Biosphere ReserveNew Brunswick2007432310
8Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere ReserveNova Scotia 2011356788
9Clayoquot Sound Biosphere ReserveBritish Columbia2000349947
10Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve Ontario2004347270
11Frontenac Arch Biosphere ReserveOntario2002220973
12Niagara Escarpment Biosphere ReserveOntario1990194555
13Beaver Hills Biosphere ReserveAlberta2016159560
14Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere ReserveBritish Columbia2000118592
15Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve Saskatchewan2000112200
16Waterton Biosphere Reserve and National ParkAlberta197966761
17Long Point Biosphere ReserveOntario198640600
18Mont Saint-Hilaire Biosphere ReserveQuebec19781100

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