Environment Canada

Environment Canada

July 16, 2009 10:40 ET

Government of Canada Invests in Canadian Biosphere Reserves

LANSDOWNE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 16, 2009) - Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville, on behalf of Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice joined representatives from the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association and the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve today, to announce $5 million in funding over five years to support 14 of the 15 biosphere reserves in Canada and the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association.

"Today's announcement reflects the Government of Canada's commitment to protecting our rich biodiversity across the country," said Minister Prentice. "Canada's biosphere reserves are excellent examples of community-based initiatives that protect our natural environment while ensuring the continued growth of the local economy in an ecologically sustainable way."

Biosphere reserves are areas designated and recognized internationally by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) for demonstrating practical approaches to balancing conservation and development. Biosphere reserves are comprised of one or more core protected areas, a buffer area in which activities compatible with conservation occur, and a large area of co-operation where sustainable resource management practices are promoted and developed. The world network consists of 553 biosphere reserves in 107 countries.

The Government of Canada's investment will facilitate activities and projects within the Canadian biosphere reserves related to conservation, sustainable development and capacity building. It will allow the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association to build up their organization, raise the profile of biosphere reserves in communities and become self-sufficient models for community-based environmental action. Additionally, it will help them co-ordinate projects such as environmental monitoring, promoting sustainable tourism, facilitating sustainable agriculture, and raising public awareness on sustainable development and promoting sustainable economic activities.

"By fostering sustainable resource management practices, biosphere reserves enhance the conservation value of Canada's protected areas," said Gord Brown. "The Government of Canada is committed to land conservation and preserving biodiversity."



Biosphere reserves are areas designated and recognized internationally by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), under the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, for demonstrating practical approaches to balancing conservation and development. They include one or more core protected areas such as a National Park or a National Wildlife Area, for the conservation of ecosystems and native biodiversity, a buffer area in which activities compatible with the conservation area occur, and a large area of co-operation where sustainable resource management practices are promoted and developed. The Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA) has 15 biosphere reserves which span eight provinces and cover a total area of 102,237 square kilometres.

The Program began in 1970, with 553 sites currently recognized in 107 countries. People in a biosphere reserve demonstrate various ways to sustain local economies and resource use while also conserving biological diversity.

Governance mechanisms are established to utilize scientific knowledge in order to:

- Reduce biodiversity loss

- Improve livelihoods

- Enhance social, economic and cultural conditions for environmental sustainability

Biosphere reserves are volunteer-driven organizations that sometimes receive project-based funding depending on individual circumstances, history and in-kind support from sources such as government programs and private foundations.

Most biosphere reserves in Canada are incorporated as non-profit organizations, and some have charitable status. The others are administered through an existing organization in their area. Biosphere reserves program activities are decided locally, but some can be linked to national or international programs.

The biosphere reserves initiate projects that are implemented in partnership with interested business, non-government or government organizations. They also facilitate projects and activities of other organizations that fit with the goals of the biosphere reserves.

Examples of these projects include:

- establishing Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Plots (the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve also trains students at these plots in partnership with the University of Waterloo);

- developing a national model for the promotion and identification of sustainable tourism opportunities like at the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve;

- working with the University of Toronto to develop local-scale climate models for climate change adaptation activities; and

- building demonstration plots for ecological restoration.


The Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA) is an Ottawa-based non-profit charitable organization created in 1998 to provide support and facilitate communication and collaboration among Canada's biosphere reserves.

CBRA also provides a unified voice for national-scale endeavors, and promotes biosphere reserves as a model for community-based sustainable development. CBRA develops and directs national projects for the collective benefit of its member biosphere reserves, such as biodiversity monitoring, ecotourism development, mapping of landscape change, climate change adaptation, ecological restoration, development of cooperation plans and social monitoring. It also engages in fundraising, communications activities, and publication of educational materials.

CBRA is governed by a Board of Directors which consists of one representative director from each of the 15 biosphere reserves, plus one from Parks Canada and one from Environment Canada. The Board provides advice on CBRA project proposals and strategic directions, including fundraising and partnership strategies. During its annual general meeting held in June, CBRA started developing a strategic plan, which defines the roadmap for the association for the next 5 years.


Following Budget 2008, the Government of Canada provided $5 million over five years to support Canadian biosphere reserves and CBRA.

Of the 15 Canadian biosphere reserves, 14 will be receiving funding; the fifteenth biosphere reserve, Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, already has a federal source of core funding.



Biosphere Reserve Organization (legal entity) Total funding
for 2008-2013
Canadian Biosphere Canadian Biosphere Reserves
Reserves Association Association (CBRA) $1,010,000
Charlevoix Corporation de la réserve mondiale de
La biosphère de Charlevoix $285,000
Frontenac Arch Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve $285,000
Fundy Fundy Biosphere Initiative Inc. $285,000
Georgian Bay Littoral Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve
Incorporated (GBBR Inc.) $285,000
Lac-Saint-Pierre La Coopérative de solidarité de la
Réserve de la biosphère du
Lac-Saint-Pierre $285,000
Long Point Long Point World Biosphere Reserve
Foundation $285,000
Manicouagan-Uapishka Comité de la réserve mondiale de la
biosphère Manicouagan-Monts Groulx $285,000
Mont Saint-Hilaire Centre de conservation de la nature
Mont Saint Hilaire $285,000
Mount Harrowsmith Mount Harrowsmith Biosphere Foundation $285,000
Niagara Escarpment Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve
c/o the Ontario Heritage Trust $285,000
Redberry Lake Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve
Association Inc. $285,000
Riding Mountain Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve Inc. $285,000
Southwest Nova Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve
Association $285,000
Waterton Chinook Area Land Users Association $285,000

Egalement offert en francais.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Bill Rodgers
    Director of Communications
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations