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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve is located in south central Canada, some 300 km north-west of Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is situated at the junction of the grassland and boreal forest biome. Forests cover most of the area, dominated by aspen (Populus tremuloides). Although grasslands occupy only 7,400 of the total 1,331,800 hectares, they are of national importance since they exist as discrete units and the rare climax rough fescue community represents the eastern extent of its range. This was the reason for its designation as a national park (core area of the biosphere reserve). The grasslands once occurred throughout southern Manitoba but they have been transformed since the European settlement in the late 19th century. The biosphere reserve also includes agricultural areas which used to be forests or grasslands. The forest ecosystem maintains many larger mammals, such as black bear (Ursus americanus), gray wolf (Canis lupus) and coyote (Canis latrans).
Descendants of the Ojibwa First Nations live in four relatively small Indian Reserves within the transition zone. The rest of the area was settled mainly by people of Ukrainian, English, French or Scandinavian descent. Some 28,400 people live in the biosphere reserve on a permanent basis. However, peak summer weekends can bring many thousands of visitors to the area (2001). The region supports a rural agricultural economy supplemented by tourism associated mainly with the national park.
The national park maintains a well-developed interpretive center with a wide variety of public information materials.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate grasslands / Boreal needle-leaf forests or woodlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   Mixedwood forest dominated by aspen (Populus tremuloides), balsam poplar (P. balsamifera), white spruce (Picea glauca) on well-drained sites; black spruce (P. mariana) and tamarack (Larix laricina) on wetter sites; and jack pine (Pinus banksiana) on well-drained sandy sites; eastern hardwoods characterized by white elm (Ulmus americana), Manitoba maple (Acer negundo), mountain maple (A. spicatum), green ash (Frazinus pennsylvanica) and bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa); aspen and oak parklands with aspen, balsam poplar and bur oak surrounded by grasslands; grassland ecosystems dominated by rough fescue (Festuca halli - part of the F. scabrella complex); agroecosystems with grain cereals, forage crops, canola and lentils; pasture land; rural areas, cities and towns; elk and bison ranches
  Location   5045'N; 10019'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   1,331,800
  Core area(s)   270,800
  Buffer zone(s)   26,800
  Transition area(s) when given   1,034,200
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +304 to +755
  Year designated   1986
  Administrative authorities   Riding Mountain National Park Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve Management Committee

Last updated: 26/02/2007

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