What is a Biosphere Reserve?
Biosphere Reserves are important ecosystems that are internationally recognized by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) where communities are committed to conservation of biodiversity, sustainable development, and logistic support (education, research, monitoring, training). They are nominated by communities within a shared landscape to demonstrate how to achieve sustainable livelihoods, vibrant culture and robust economies based on a healthy environment. There are over 600 world biosphere reserves in 117 countries, with 16 now in Canada
Our Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve
Designated by UNESCO in 2004, the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve is an area of 347,000 hectares that stretches 200 km along the eastern coast from Port Severn to the French River, in the world’s largest freshwater archipelago, also known as the 30,000 Islands. The unique geography and geology of the area create more than 1,000 distinct habitat types which support a variety of rare species, including plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Visitors can explore a mosaic of open waters, sheltered bays, coastal wetlands, exposed bedrock shores, sand and cobble beaches, riparian vegetation and upland forests.
The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve model aims to integrate core protected areas (such as provincial and national parks), surrounding buffer areas (mostly Crown Lands) and an outer transition area of communities that support sustainable development. The biosphere reserve does not affect existing jurisdictions but creates a forum for cooperation and operates through community partnerships.
Protects the environment. Creates vibrant communities. Builds a healthy economy.
Following the mandate of UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves, to be an international model of sustainability for eastern Georgian Bay, while protecting the ecological values of the region.
To facilitate cooperative action in support of the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development through education and public outreach, that will foster a shared responsibility for the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve for the next seven generations.
Four Pillars of Sustainable Development: Environmental sustainability, Economic sustainability, Social Sustainability, and Cultural Sustainability.