The Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve (RMBR) is a non-profit organization that seeks to balance the conservation of natural and cultural heritage with sustainable resource development in the area surrounding Riding Mountain National Park. RMBR includes the voluntary support of local business, community, educational and government partners working cooperatively to support prosperous local economies while maintaining healthy communities.
What does “Biosphere Reserve” mean?
A “Biosphere Reserve” is a designation of recognition from UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) for an area which demonstrates a “balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere.” Through collaborative efforts among people in the biosphere reserve, the sustainability of local economies and communities are promoted, as well as the conservation of the ecosystems they are in. Biosphere Reserves are intended as special areas where people demonstrate better approaches to conservation and sustainable resource use.
A Biosphere Reserve also serves as a mechanism for regional planning and multi-sector collaboration. It offers an opportunity for the community to conceive what they want for the region and to work toward achieving it.
The Biosphere Reserve does not have any law-making or land-use changing powers. Rather, it promotes voluntary initiatives, with the main goal being to seek a balance between the conservation of natural and cultural heritage and sustainable economic development.
To learn more about the function of a biosphere reserve, please read the RMBR Backgrounder document.
Our protected core is Riding Mountain National Park, and the area of cooperation includes 12 surrounding rural municipalities.
The core area covers some 3000 square kilometers of mixedwood forest (white spruce and trembling aspen, known locally as white poplar), eastern deciduous forest (ash, oak, elm, and cottonwood), and rough fescue prairie.
The surrounding area of cooperation comprises an additional 12,000 square kilometers, containing 28,000 residents, and has largely been developed for the growing of grain and forage crops, and for the production of livestock. In addition, the area is rich in lakes, streams and natural habitat, and hunting, guiding, and eco-tourism contribute to the local economy.
When the twentieth century began, humans had neither the numbers nor the technology to destroy the planet. Now we have and we are producing a crisis threatening the survival of life as we know it.
Biosphere Reserves provide excellent opportunities for research. The core area of Riding Mountain National Park preserves the diversity of local forms of life and serves as a baseline against which we can measure our use of resources. Some day we may desperately need the genes of plants or animals that have disappeared on land that is cultivated or grazed. Professionals can also study the interaction between wildlife and humans and can suggest ways to avoid conflict.
Biosphere Reserves are not places set aside from human use and development – human activity and the health of people and communities are an essential part of the Biosphere Reserve program. Residents and organizations in a Biosphere Reserve use a variety of activities to address conservation and sustainable development in ways that are meaningful for them; they also have opportunities to share their discoveries with others.
The Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve is managed by a committee of area residents appointed by member Rural Municipalities. In addition, professionals provide advice and scientific information. Biosphere reserves can teach us principles of harmonious existence. These principles help us develop attitudes that will permit future generations to have a good life.
Three Functions of a Biosphere Reserve
- Conservation of Biodiversity – Protecting the long-term health, integrity and diversity of flora, fauna and the region‘s natural landscape.
- Sustainable Development – Helping citizens, business and government find sound approaches to land use and resource use that is sustainable for society and the environment, now and in the future
- Capacity Building – Helping citizens, business and government make informed decisions using scientific research, monitoring, education and training.
Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve was designated in 1986, following application to UNESCO from the 15 Rural Municipalities which make up the area of cooperation, by the Province of Manitoba, and by Riding Mountain National Park of Canada.
Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve actively participates and promotes programs developed to help the youngest members of our society learn about Biosphere Reserves conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development.
This world is our home and all it contains is our household. At our present rate of destruction, life in 50 years in many areas will be only a bleak image of what it is now.
Our Constitution and By-Laws
The following Constitution and By-Laws are available for download in PDF format.
The Biosphere Reserves of Canada
- Bras d’Or Lake, 2011 – Unique estuarine ecosystem
- Charlevoix, 1988 – Boreal needleleaf forests or woodlands
- Clayoquot Sound, 2000 – Temperate rainforests including marine/coastal component
- Fundy, 2007 – Acadian Forest, estuarine systems, and non-forest ecosystems
- Georgian Bay Littoral, 2004 – Freshwater coastline and islands
- Lac Saint-Pierre, 2000 – Estuarine systems and freshwater wetlands
- Long Point, 1986 – Temperate and sub-polar broadleaf forests or woodlands including lake system
- Mont Saint-Hilaire, 1978 – Temperate broadleaf forests or woodlands
- Mount Arrowsmith, 2000 – Temperate rainforest including marine components
- Niagara Escarpment, 1990 – Temperate broadleaf forests or woodlands
- Redberry Lake, 2000 – Temperate grassland; saline lake
- Riding Mountain, 1986 – Temperate grasslands / Boreal needle-leaf forests or woodlands
- Southwest Nova, 2001 – Boreal needleleaf forests or woodlands.
- Thousand Islands – Frontenac Arch, 2002 – Temperate and sub-polar broadleaf forests or woodlands / Boreal needleleaf forests or woodlands
- Waterton, 1979 – Mixed mountain and highland systems; lakes and freshwater wetlands
- Manicouagan-Uapishka, 2007 – Natural province of the Central Laurentians