Environment Canada

Environment Canada

September 25, 2009 15:00 ET

Government of Canada's Investment in Canadian Biosphere Reserves Celebrated in Saskatchewan

HAFFORD, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Sept. 25, 2009) - On behalf of Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice, Maurice Vellacott, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, joined representatives from the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve today to celebrate the recent announcement of funding to support Canada's Biosphere Reserves. The Government of Canada is providing $5 million in funding over five years to 14 of the 15 biosphere reserves in Canada and the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association. This funding will provide the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve with $57,000 per year through 2013.

"This funding commitment reflects the importance the Government of Canada places on protecting our rich biodiversity across the country," said Maurice Vellacott. "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."

"We would like to thank the federal government for its financial contribution and our provincial Members of Legislative Assembly for their ongoing support for preserving the biodiversity at Redberry Lake," said Larry Hawrysh, Chair, Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve Association. "This is a great example of how rural communities and government can work together to revitalize the rural economy and develop sustainable economic models that include and preserve local biodiversity."

The Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve was designated as a biosphere reserve on January 21, 2000 by UNESCO. This reserve covers 112,200 hectares of rolling prairie, dotted with seasonal ponds and marshes characteristic of the Prairie Pothole region. The core area is a saline lake with several islands. This type of habitat is often considered the "nursery" for waterfowl production. There are small patches of mixed prairie, which is very rare in this highly grazed and cultivated part of Saskatchewan.

"Our government is committed to protecting and conserving the habitat our wildlife species need to thrive. Many species at risk can be found on the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve including rare and endangered plants and animals including the Piping Plover, American White Pelican and fen orchid," said Jim Prentice. "By fostering sustainable resource management practices, Biosphere Reserves enhance the conservation value of protected areas."

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.



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);

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

- creating a sustainable development educational program at Lac St-Pierre;

- holding sustainable tourism workshops at the Fundy Biosphere Reserve; and

- establishing projects that entails watershed assessment and active community outreach for individual farm producers at the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve.


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 Biospheres and the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association.

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.

The "CANADIAN BIOSPHERE RESERVES FUNDING BREAKDOWN" is available at the following address: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/biosphere_ENG_0925.pdf

(Egalement offert en francais)

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations