Waterton

Waterton Biosphere Reserve and National Park is situated in the extreme south-west of the Province of Alberta and encompasses a section of the east slopes of the Rocky Mountains extending from the Continental Divide to the edge of the Canadian Great Plains to the east. The Glacier Biosphere Reserve and National Park in Montana, USA is located to the south of the area.

 

Designation Date: 1979
Surface Area: 52,597 ha
Administrative Division: Waterton Lakes National Park
Waterton Biosphere Association

Human Activities

Waterton has a permanent population of 279 people and a seasonal population of about 2,250 during the summerpeak season (1996). Major source of income is tourism which mainly takes place in the buffer zone. Agriculture, especially livestock raising and sustainable forest use within the ‘Blood Indian Reserve’, is of importance mainly in the transition zone.

The biosphere reserve organizes or helps co-sponsor public seminars or forums on matters that attract local community interest or concerns and also arranges outings for students.

Ecological Characteristics

Waterton Biosphere Reserve and National Park is situated in the extreme south-west of the Province of Alberta and encompasses a section of the east slopes of the Rocky Mountains extending from the Continental Divide to the edge of the Canadian Great Plains to the east.

The Glacier Biosphere Reserve and National Park in Montana, USA is located to the south of the area. The steep environmental gradients from the Continental Divide to the prairies have created an unusual rich mosaic of habitats with their associated flora and fauna.

The biosphere reserve covers prairie grasslands, aspen grove forests, subalpine forests, alpinetundra and meadows, cliffs, lakes and freshwater wetlands as well as disturbed, heavily grazed land in the prairies.

Prairie grasslands including Danthonia spp., Festuca scabrellaand Koeleria macrantha; aspen grove forests with Populus tremuloides, Amelanchier alnifolia and Heracleumlanatum; alpine tundra/high meadows characterized by Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), lodge pole pine(Pinus contorta), limber pine (P. flexilis) and white barkpine (P. albicaulis); arctic-alpine communities above the tree line dominated by Dryas octopetala and Polemoniumviscosum; upper subalpine forests with Larix lyallii, Luzulahitchcockii, Picea engelmannii and Abies lasiocarpa; lower subalpine forests dominated by Engelmann spruce(Picea engelmannii) and subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa); deciduous forest, coniferous forests dominated by Douglasfir and limber pine; cliffs, lakes and freshwater wetlands; disturbed, heavily grazed land with Populus tremuloides, Urtica dioica, Bromus inermis and Phleum pratense.


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