Charlevoix

Situated some 80 km east of Quebec City, Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve borders the Saint Lawrence River to the north. Extending from 5 to 1,150 meters above sea level, the area comprises agricultural areas, river ecosystems, estuarine tidal marshes and flats, coniferous and mixed forests, stunted vegetation (krummholz) and mountain tundra ecosystems.

Designation date: 1988
Administrative authorities: Corporation de la réserve mondiale de la biosphère de Charlevoix
Surface area (terrestrial and marine): 1,290,000 ha
Core area(s): 63,400 ha
Buffer zone(s): 483,600 ha (terrestrial: 393,600 ha; marine: 90,000 ha)
Transition area(s): 743,000 ha (terrestrial: 643,000 ha; marine: 100,000 ha)

Location
Latitude:
47°15'N - 48°05'N
Longitude: 69°55'W - 71°10'W
Midpoint: 47°40′06″N - 070°32′12″W

Ecological Characteristics

Situated some 80 km east of Quebec City, Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve borders the Saint Lawrence River to the north. Extending from 5 to 1,150 meters above sea level, the area comprises agricultural areas, river ecosystems, estuarine tidal marshes and flats, coniferous and mixed forests, stunted vegetation (krummholz) and mountain tundra ecosystems.

Maple forests including paper birch (Betula papyriferae), alder (Alnus spp.) and elm (Ulmus spp.) and with an understory of sumac (Rhus typhina), Acer pensylvanicum and Cornusalternifolia; mixed fir (Abies sp.) forest with Coryluscornuta, Sambucus pubens and Taxus canadensis; bore alforests up to an altitude of 300m with fir and spruce (Piceaspp.); estuarine tidal marsh and flats dominated by Scirpus americanus meadows including Zizania palustris, Sagittariacuneata and S. latifolia; tundra with ericaceous zones consisting of Kalmia spp., Ledum groenlandicum; stunted vegetation community (krummolz) with Picea mariana and Abies balsamea; agro-ecosystems with cereals, fruits and legumes; river ecosystems.

Animal species in the area include beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), wolf (Canis lupus), boreal woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), North American cougar (Puma concolor couguar) and blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus).

Socio-Economic Characteristics

About 30,000 people live in the biosphere reserve (1988), which covers 457,000 hectares. In former times, the population of Charlevoix used to rely on the river and the sea, for example on coastal navigation, marine constructions and fisheries (e.g. beluga, eel).

Today, the economic landscape has diversified and major factors in the local economy are now forestry, silica mining, agriculture and tourism. The forest education centre ‘Les Palissades’ or the ecological center ‘Port-au-Saumon’ are important institutions for environmental education in the area. A five-year action plan(1999-2003) currently tries to promote the divers goals of a biosphere reserve.


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