The Importance of Parks and Protected Areas to Biosphere Reserve Networks around the World


Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association

UNESCO biosphere reserves are places where people share a way of living with nature that models solutions for a sustainable future, celebrates cultural and biological diversity, and empowers people to engage with one another and with nature in healthier ways. Biosphere reserves foster and share scientific, Indigenous, and local knowledge in order to explore new ways of living that solve global challenges and address the the United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The world network of UNESCO designated biosphere reserves covers 669 regions in 120 countries. There are 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves in Canada, and they are home to some two million people. These sites are situated within the traditional territories of over 50 Indigenous communities. Spanning an area of 235,000 square kilometres, Canadian biosphere reserves play an important role in improving the quality of life of the 2 Million Canadians who live and work within their boundaries.

Canadian biosphere reserves encourage:

  • Sustainable tourism
  • Education for sustainable development
  • Ecosystem services
  • Land management

Examples include The Beaver Hills, designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in March 2016, the second in Alberta and 18th in Canada to receive this international recognition.