Environment Canada

Environment Canada

October 13, 2009 13:39 ET

Government of Canada's Investment in Canadian Biosphere Reserves Celebrated in Waterton National Park

WATERTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Oct. 13, 2009) - On behalf of Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice, Member of Parliament for Lethbridge, Rick Casson joined representatives from the Chinook Area Land Users Association and the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Society 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 Waterton Biosphere Reserve with $57,000 per year through 2013.

"Our government is proud to supporting areas so important for protecting majestic species like the grizzly bear and its natural habitat," said MP Casson. ''This biosphere reserve fosters and encourages a sustainable community based regional economy, with high biodiversity, landscape, and social values, with Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada as a key component. It is a special place where people are encouraged to demonstrate better approaches to conservation and sustainable resource use.''

"The main goal of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve is to achieve a sustainable balance between the goals of conserving biological diversity and promoting economic development while maintaining cultural values. The funding from Environment Canada will help us to meet this objective," said Larry Frith, Chair of the Chinook Area Land Users Association. "Our aim is to provide residents and visitors to the Biosphere Reserve with good information to enable them to have the opportunity to make sound, sustainable decisions in all aspects of their contact with the biosphere."

"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."

The Waterton Biosphere Reserve was designated as a biosphere reserve in 1979 by UNESCO. The core protected area, Waterton Lakes National Park, covers only 525 square kilometres Rocky Mountain and bunchgrass landscapes. Waterton Lakes National Park was the first national park in Canada to be included in a biosphere reserve.

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.

(Également offert en français)



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.



Biosphere Reserve

Organization (legal entity)
Total funding for
Canadian Biosphere Reserves AssociationCanadian Biosphere Reserves Association / l'Association canadienne des réserves de la biosphère (CBRA/ACRB)$ 1,010,000
CharlevoixCorporation de la réserve mondiale de la biosphère de Charlevoix$ 285,000
Frontenac ArchFrontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve$ 285,000
FundyFundy Biosphere Initiative Inc.$ 285,000
Georgian Bay LittoralGeorgian Bay Biosphere Reserve Incorporated (GBBR Inc.)$ 285,000
Lac-St-PierreLa Coopérative de solidarité de la Réserve de la biosphère du Lac-Saint-Pierre$ 285,000
Long PointLong Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation$ 285,000
Manicouagan-UapishkaComité de la réserve mondiale de la biosphère Manicouagan-Monts Groulx$ 285,000
Mont Saint-HilaireCentre de conservation de la nature Mont Saint-Hilaire$ 285,000
Mount ArrowsmithMount Arrowsmith Biosphere Foundation$ 285,000
Niagara EscarpmentNiagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve c/o the Ontario Heritage Trust$ 285,000
Redberry LakeRedberry Lake Biosphere Reserve Association Inc$ 285,000
Riding MountainRiding Mountain Biosphere Reserve Inc.$ 285,000
Southwest NovaSouthwest Nova Biosphere Reserve Association$ 285,000
WatertonChinook Area Land Users Association$ 285,000

Contact Information

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