UNESCO World Biospheres


–¬†inspiring a positive future by connecting people and nature today.

The biosphere is all of the land, water and atmosphere that support life. A “biosphere reserve” is an international designation of recognition from UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) for an area in the world which is deemed to demonstrate a balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere. By this is meant that collaborative efforts among people in the designated area serve to promote the sustainability of local economies and communities, as well as the conservation of the terrestrial/or coastal ecosystems they are in.

A biosphere reserve designation gives an area international recognition for the important ecological and cultural values in an area. It also provides a mechanism, based on local commitment and local ability, to apply sound stewardship (and protection, where necessary) to use of resources in an area to support present and future generations.

Under the Man and the Biosphere program, UNESCO named Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment a world biosphere reserve in February 1990. Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment is one of 18 reserves in Canada and is part of a network of 631 reserves in 119 countries.

The Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve conserves the Province of Ontario’s natural and social capital by protecting prime agricultural lands, forests, wetlands, heritage properties and recreational spaces.

Biosphere Reserves strive to conserve the diversity of plants, animals and micro- organisms which make up our living biosphere and maintain healthy natural systems while, at the same time meeting the material needs and aspirations of an increasing number of people. Before UNESCO designates a biosphere reserve, local people and organizations must have demonstrated their commitment to these principles.