Environment Canada

Environment Canada

August 26, 2009 10:40 ET

Government of Canada's Investment in Canadian Biosphere Reserves Celebrated in Southwest Nova Scotia

ANNAPOLIS ROYAL, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 26, 2009) - On behalf of Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice, Member of Parliament for West Nova, Greg Kerr joined representatives from the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve today, to celebrate the recent announcement of funding 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 Southwest Nova 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 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.

"With this funding, we have been able to hire a project coordinator and begin to address regional concerns related to youth engagement and rural development," said Dr. Bob Maher, Chair of the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve Association. "The new funding will strengthen our national biosphere reserve network and the work we do with environmental organizations in Southwest Nova Scotia."

The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve was designated as a biosphere reserve in 2001 by UNESCO. The Reserve spans 1,546,374 hectares and includes the counties of Annapolis, Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne and Queens, as well as Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site, and the Tobeatic Wilderness Area. The area contains over 30 species at risk such as the Eastern Ribbon Snake, Southern Flying Squirrel, Monarch Butterfly, Blanding's Turtle, Atlantic Whitefish, Piping Plover, Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora and rare lichens.

"The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve is an excellent example of a community-based initiative that promotes the conservation and protection of our natural environment while ensuring the continued growth of the local economy and communities in an ecologically sustainable way," said Greg Kerr.

The Government of Canada's investment will facilitate activities and projects within the biosphere reserve related to conservation, sustainable development and capacity building for research and education. Additionally, it will help co-ordinate projects such as youth outreach, community engagement, promoting sustainable tourism and economic activities, integrating community sustainability planning with the 16 municipal units of the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve, and raising public awareness.

Delighted by today's announcement, MP for South Shore - St. Margaret's, Gerald Keddy added, "fostering sustainable resource management practices, the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve enhances the conservation value of Canada's protected areas. The Government of Canada is proud to support an organization that shares its commitment to land conservation and preserving biodiversity."

Egalement offert en francais


BACKGROUNDER

CANADIAN BIOSPHERE RESERVES

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

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 five years.

FUNDING

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.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    819-997-1441
    or
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations
    819-934-8008
    1-888-908-8008
    www.ec.gc.ca