Discover Canada’s Biosphere Regions

UNESCO-designated biosphere reserves, referred to as biosphere regions in Canada, feature iconic landscapes, unique natural diversity, and vibrant communities.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an avid hiker or someone looking for a special place to study or visit, Canada’s biosphere regions offer experiences and opportunities that are both meaningful and unforgettable.

Ready to Explore? 

There are 19 biosphere regions across the country helping communities thrive in harmony with nature. While each of them has its own appeal, they are all committed to balancing environmental, economic, cultural, and social needs to support local development. 

Discover what each BR can provide for your upcoming adventures and delve into the projects they are implementing to bolster their communities.


British Columbia

Known for its diverse ecosystems ranging from temperate rainforests to alpine meadows, British Columbia is home to several biosphere regions. These reserves typically focus on preserving the rich biodiversity of the region, including iconic species such as grizzly bears and Pacific salmon. They often incorporate Indigenous knowledge and sustainable forestry practices into their conservation efforts. 

a group canoeing in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region. Photo credit: Striking Balance.

Clayoquot Sound

Location: British Columbia

Designated Since: 2000

The Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region, nestled within the coastal temperate rainforest of western Vancouver Island in British Columbia, stands as a vital sanctuary of biodiversity and cultural heritage. This biosphere region encompasses some of the last remaining old-growth forests in the province, alongside diverse ecosystems such as lakes, rivers, rocky coastal shores, mudflats, expansive sand beaches, and much more.

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Overlooking Átl’ka7tsem / Howe Sound Biosphere Region.

Howe Sound

Location: British Columbia

Designated Since: 2021

Átl’ḵa7tsem (pronounced At-Kat-sum) is the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh/ Squamish word for paddling up the Sound. First Nation people have prospered in the region since time immemorial.

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Mount Arrowsmith in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region. Photo credit: Striking Balance.

Mount Arrowsmith

Location: British Columbia

Designated Since: 2000

Dominated by the towering peaks of Mount Arrowsmith and surrounding mountains, this area is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It encompasses a mosaic of ecosystems ranging from old-growth temperate rainforests to alpine meadows and pristine lakes.

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Prairies

The prairie region of Canada, spanning Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, hosts biosphere regions that highlight the unique prairie and parkland ecosystems of the area. These regions play a crucial role in conserving native grassland habitats, promoting sustainable agriculture practices, and protecting characteristic species such as the sharp-tailed grouse and American badger.

Beaver Hills Wetlands

Beaver Hills

Location: Alberta

Designated Since: 2016

Just 20 minutes east of Edmonton, Alberta, the Beaver Hills/Cooking Lake moraine is a distinct geomorphological region that encompasses approximately 1600 square kilometres. The hummocky “knob and kettle” terrain, in this island of boreal mixed wood forest, forms a patchwork of depressional areas, many of which support wetlands, small lakes and streams.

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The Yasieniuk family on their ranch in the Redberry Lake Biosphere Region.Photo credit: Striking Balance.

Redberry Lake

Location: Saskatchewan

Designated Since: 2000

Nestled within the heart of Saskatchewan, the Redberry Lake biosphere region encompassing the pristine waters of Redberry Lake and its surrounding grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands.

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Cows grazing in a forested landscape in the Riding Mountain Biosphere Region. Photo credit: Striking Balance.

Riding Mountain

Location: Manitoba

Designated Since: 1986

Within the heart of Manitoba, Canada, the Riding Mountain biosphere region spans over 3,000 square kilometers and encompasses a breathtaking array of landscapes, from rolling grasslands and dense forests to pristine lakes and meandering rivers.

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Jeff Bectell, and his son Damon, return home after moving cattle on their ranch in the Waterton Biosphere Region. Photo credit: Striking Balance.

Waterton

Location: Alberta

Designated Since: 1979

Waterton Biosphere Region is situated in the extreme southwest of the Province of Alberta and encompasses some of the most spectacular and ecologically diverse landscapes in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and prairie grasslands.

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Ontario

With its diverse landscapes encompassing boreal forests, freshwater lakes, and agricultural lands, Ontario’s biosphere regions showcase the importance of preserving both natural and cultural heritage. These regions conserve biodiversity in the face of urbanization within Southern and Central Ontario.

kayaking in the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Region. Photo credit: Gordon

Frontenac Arch

Location: Ontario

Designated Since: 2002

Amidst the rolling hills and tranquil waters of eastern Ontario, the Frontenac Arch region is an important land bridge linking the habitats of the Algonquin and Adirondack Park regions.

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Georgian Bay Biosphere Region

Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii

Location: Ontario

Designated Since: 2004

Along eastern Georgian Bay and inland the Georgian Bay Biosphere in Ontario is situated within Anishinaabek territory and respects the First Nations and Indigenous people that continue to care for land, air, and water of Mnidoo-gamii, Spirit of the Great Lake.

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kayaking on Big Creek in the Long Point Biosphere Region.

Long Point

Location: Ontario

Designated Since: 1996

The Long Point Biosphere Region is in southern Ontario on the shores of Lake Erie. Stretching like a slender finger into the waters of the lake, Long Point Peninsula is renowned for its unique blend of habitats, including sandy beaches, wetlands, forests, and dunes.

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Canoeing at Lions Head in the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Region. Photo credit: Striking Balance.

Niagara Escarpment

Location: Ontario

Designated Since: 1990

The Niagara Escarpment in Ontario stretches 725 km from Lake Ontario (near Niagara Falls) to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula (between Georgian Bay and Lake Huron).

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Quebec

Quebec’s biosphere regions reflect the province’s rich ecological diversity, ranging from the boreal forests of the north to the St. Lawrence River estuary in the south.

hiking in the hills of Charlevoix Biosphere Region

Charlevoix

Location: Quebec

Designated Since: 1988

Nestled along the picturesque shores of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, the region is marked by a mountainous relief altered by meteorite impact and glaciation, the territory changes from a temperate maritime climate along the coast to tundra vegetation on the highest peaks.

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Lac Saint-Pierre Biosphere Region. Photo credit: Striking Balance.

Lac Saint-Pierre

Location: Quebec

Designated Since: 2000

The Saint-Pierre Lake is the largest fluvial lake on the St. Lawrence River and one of the largest inland deltas of stagnant water in the world. It is characterised by its dynamic floodplain, its archipelago of more than a hundred islands, its rich biodiversity, and land many land uses – agriculture, forestry, and industry.

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Cabin with northern lights in Manicouagan Uapishka Biosphere Region. Photo credit: Striking Balance

Manicouagan-Uapishka

Location: Quebec

Designated Since: 2007

Spanning over 54,000 square kilometers, this expansive landscape encompasses a diverse array of ecosystems, from pristine boreal forests and ancient mountain ranges to sprawling wetlands and crystalline lakes.

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Mont Saint-Hilaire

Location: Quebec

Designated Since: 1978

Located about 32 km east of Montreal, Mont Saint-Hilaire is a steep-sided circular formation rising some 400m above the Saint Lawrence plain. It comprises one of the last remnants of old growth deciduous forest in Quebec.

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Atlantic

The Atlantic region, comprising the maritime provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick features biosphere regions that focus on coastal ecosystems, marine biodiversity, and sustainable fisheries management. These regions serve as vital habitats for migratory birds, marine mammals, and commercially important fish species, while also addressing challenges such as coastal erosion and habitat degradation.

Bras d'Or Lake photo.

Bras d’Or Lake

Location: Nova Scotia

Designated Since: 2011

Nestled within the heart of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, the Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Region consists of a salt-water estuary ‘inland sea’ with three passages to the Atlantic Ocean.

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hiking along the shore in the Fundy Biosphere Region

Fundy

Location: New Brunswick

Designated Since: 2007

Stretching along the shores of the Bay of Fundy, home to the world's highest tides, this captivating landscape boasts a wealth of natural wonders found nowhere else on Earth.

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Southwest Harbour in the Southwest Nova Biosphere Region. Photo credit: Cliff Drysdale

Southwest Nova

Location: Nova Scotia

Designated Since: 2001

The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve is in the southwestern portion of the peninsular Province of Nova Scotia, in eastern Canada.

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The North

Canada’s northern regions, including the Northwest Territories include the only Indigenous-led biosphere region in the world. It highlights the unique Arctic and subarctic ecosystems of the area. The biosphere region plays a crucial role in preserving traditional indigenous knowledge and mitigating the impacts of climate change on vulnerable northern communities and wildlife populations. They also serve as important research sites for studying environmental changes in the Arctic.

Tsa Tue Biosphere Region. Photo credit: Striking Balance.

Tsá Tué

Location: Northwest Territories

Designated Since: 2016

The area's geological features, including ancient glaciers and rugged limestone formations, add to its uniqueness, providing a window into the Earth's geological history.

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A photo of boats at Alma Warf in the Southwest Nova Biosphere Region.