Long Point

This biosphere reserve encompasses a rich mosaic of ecological systems associated with the erosion deposit sand spit formations in the Laurentian Great Lakes, as well as some of the largest remaining forest tracts in ‘Carolinian Canada’. The variety of habitats supports a rich flora and fauna, including a waterfowl staging area and migration stop-over area for land birds with a continental importance.

This has been recognized by its designation as a Ramsar site and as a globally significant Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. Long Point Bird Observatory and visiting bird watchers are estimated to contribute about 1.5 Canadian dollars annually to the local economy (2001). Established in 1960, it is the oldest continuously operated bird observatory in North America.

Designation Date: 1986
Surface area: 40,600 hectares
Administrative division: Norfolk County, Ontario

Human Activities

  • Forest corridor stewardship projects to restore terrestrial ecosystems on private lands
  • Roadway improvement project with 20 partner agencies and community groups to reduce roadside wildlife mortality in the Reserve
  • Education and community development (workshops, conferences) focused on sustainability

Ecological Characteristics

  • Long Point is a coastal erosion deposit sand spit formation that extends about 32 kilometers into the central basin of Lake Erie from its north shore. Habitats on and surrounding Long Point include woodlands, sand dunes and bluffs, marshes, ponds, meadows, beaches, and lakeshore. This complex is the largest biophysical formation of its kind in the Laurentian Great Lakes of North America.
  • Inner Long Point Bay covers approximately 78 km2 between the spit and Lake Erie’s north shore. The Inner Bay is a diverse sport fishery and continentally important staging area for migratory waterfowl.
  • Recorded in the Reserve and surrounding region are 1,384 species of plants, 370 species of birds, 102 species of fish, 46 species of mammals, 34 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 91 species of butterflies.
  • Immediately adjacent to the coastal Reserve is a distinctive terrestrial area of temperate “Carolinian” broadleaf forests, conifer plantations, oak savannas, and diverse agro-ecosystems.

Protection Classifications

The Long Point National Wildlife Area (3,650 hectares) is the core of the Reserve, managed by the Canadian Wildlife Service. Other protected areas are managed by provincial and regional governments


> Back to Biosphere Reserves in Canada

                                                                            Last update: May 2014

Back to top