Clayoquot Sound

The Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, totaling approximately 349,947 hectares, is situated on Vancouver Island on the west coast of British Columbia. A diverse range of ecosystems exists within the biosphere reserve boundaries, including temperate coastal rainforest, ocean, rocky coastal shores.

Nine of the large forested valleys remain untouched by logging or other industrial development. The area’s temperate rainforest, lakes, rivers, alpine peaks, provide habitat for a vast array of species, a significant number of which is endangered or rare. Given that development is increasingly resulting in fragmentation of forest and alpine ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity in coastal rainforests, this biosphere reserve provides a refuge and center for natural dispersion and re-establishment of species.


Designation Date: January 21, 2000
Surface Area: 349,947
Administrative Division: Tofino, Opitsaht, Esowista, Hesquiaht and Ahousaht in British Columbia, Canada

Human Activities

  • Support research and indicator monitoring in the reserve,with small research library, two research cabins and through funding researchers in the region.
  • Support and development of local programs in community development, education, culture, terrestrial and marine and aquatics.  

Ecological Characteristics

The primary habitat of the Clayoquot Biosphere is Temperate Rainforest (Coastal Western Hemlock), covering 85 per cent of the terrestrial component, extending to an altitude of about 900 metres. The habitat is dominated by large trees: the Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar,Amabilis Fir, Western Yellow Cedar, Sitka Spruce, Pine,Douglas Fir, Yew and the Red Alder. There are approximately 300 vertebrae species, including the black bear, cougar, mink and wolf.

The second common habitat covering 12 percent of the Clayoquot above 900 metres is temperate rainforest (Mountain Hemlock). Dominant trees are the Mountain Hemlock, Western Yellow Cedar and Amabilis Fir. Fewer species are found at such a high altitude, but those that are,are the same as those found in lower altitudes.

The Marine component of the Clayoquot supports mud flats,beaches and estuaries. The reserve contains the largest cover of eelgrass on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Gray whales, orcas, hump back whales and a varietyof other whale, dolphin and porpoise species are common.Stellar and California sea lions are also common in the Reserve. Commercial aquaculture of native salmon species and introduced Atlantic salmon, oysters and scallops are significant economic activities in the Reserve.

Protection Classifications

The core area of the Reserve is a federally designated National Park Reserve.

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