UNESCO biosphere region’s are places where people share a way of living with nature that builds a future we’re proud of. We model solutions for a sustainable future, celebrate cultural and biological diversity, and empower people to engage with one another and with nature in healthy ways. Biosphere region’s foster and share scientific, Indigenous, and local knowledge in order to explore new ways of living that solve global challenges and address the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Designation occurs under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. Find out more here.

There are currently 18 regions in Canada and 701 regions in 124 countries internationally. The Canadian regions are organized together for mutual support through the Canadian Biosphere Region Association (CBRA).

Biosphere regions address one of the most challenging issues we face today: How do we maintain the health of natural systems while meeting the needs of communities? Biosphere regions act as “living laboratories” for testing this dialogue and demonstrate integrated management of land, water and biodiversity to work towards a sustainable future for all.

Everyone. Biosphere regions are organized in a worldwide network. The activities in conservation, development and education contribute to practical ways to resolve land-use conflicts and to ensure protection of biological diversity while facilitating sustainable economic development locally. They also help create a consciousness of solidarity among all people of the world to sustainably manage the biosphere.

  • Local communities people benefit from the protection of species, land and water resources within their biosphere region. They have a continued opportunity to maintain existing traditions and lifestyles as well as a more stable and diverse local economy with additional employment. Workshops and other educational events organized by their biosphere region provide people knowledge on how to make their own local community a sustainable place.
  • Scientists Biosphere regions encourage research on ecological processes or biological diversity. Offering a growing database on which to build new hypotheses and experiments, the regions provide a space for monitoring activities on a long-term basis. 
  • Government Decision Makers and Agencies The Biosphere provides better information on resources found in the biosphere environment. This enhances their ability and knowledge base to manage natural resources in a sustainable way.
  • Visitors- Biosphere regions offer a unique opportunity for visitors in the area to experience recreation from a holistic environmental approach. Not only will they gain education on how sustainable communities prosper in well-being and economically, but will further build skills that can be implemented in their own communities, encouraging the network to grow.

In Canada, there is currently no program of core funding for Biosphere Regions. Instead, in-kind support is sought out through grants, bursaries, contribution agreement and (private) donations.

The common (shared) reality is that all these areas have a protected zone for the conservation of ecosystems. Within biosphere regions the zone is called the “core area”. However, the difference from other protected areas is that biosphere regions also emphasize the importance of community-based efforts to enable a stable and sustainable economy.

More information about Biosphere Regions can be found on
UNESCO, MAB and CBRA websites.