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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   This biosphere reserve encompasses the largest island archipelago of the North American Great Lakes. Known locally as “The Thirty Thousand Islands”, it is a complex association of bays, inlets, sounds, islands and shoals lying along the edge of the Canadian Shield bedrock which rises as low lying hills and ridges on the adjacent mainland. This topography supports a rich mosaic of forest, wetlands, and rocky habitat types with associated biodiversity. It also has high scenic values which attract large numbers of summer residents, cruising boaters, and seasonal visitors. The number of permanent residents associated with the biosphere reserve is about 17,000, but summer residents and visitors increase this some 3 to 5 times more, and up to 25 times in some more accessible localities. Most of the area is accessible only by boats. The main development issues are promotion of best practices, especially for water-oriented recreation and ecotourism linked to particular destinations. The core area is made up of one national park and five natural environment or nature reserve provincial parks. The buffer zone is composed of 14 provincial Conservation Reserves, and the core and buffers together form a contiguous landscape unit along the eastern Georgian Bay coast. The inaccessibility of much of the transition area adds to the conservation function. The “Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, Incorporated” represents a number of stakeholder interests which together coordinate the biosphere reserve program.
  Major ecosystem type   Boreal Needleleaf Forests or Woodlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest; island archipelago; nearshore and coastal terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems; Georgian Bay; and inland lakes and rivers.
  Location   Centroid: 80o 18’28 W 45o 26’16 N
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   347,270
  Core area(s)   52,509
  Buffer zone(s)   39,595
  Transition area(s) when given   255,166
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   176 to 256
  Year designated   2004
  Administrative authorities   Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve Incorporated, c/o GBA Foundation, 48 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3B 2T5

Last updated: 26/02/2007

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