Our Environment

Biosphere Reserves strive to achieve four pillars of sustainable development:

Environmental sustainability: all actions should enhance and protect environmental health upon which human health & the economy depend;

Economic sustainability: we must support local livelihoods, create a vibrant economy and foster long term wealth for our citizens;

Social sustainability: our institutions and infrastructure must foster healthy family and community life over the long term;

Cultural sustainability: we must preserve our rich and diverse cultural heritage, while fostering an atmosphere that encourages expression, communication and interaction in the arts, recreation and well-being of our citizens and visitors.

Background Conservation

Aerial View of Georgian Bay
Specific Conservation objectives for the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve are:

  • To conserve the high level of biodiversity of ecosystems, species and genes within the biosphere, especially species at risk.
  • To facilitate and promote the long-term conservation of a more or less continuous, ecologically functioning landscape along the eastern coast of Georgian Bay, as well as intact natural linkages.
  • To facilitate and provide a living-laboratory for long-term environmental research and monitoring as well as a venue for education and training.
  • To model and foster practical approaches and activities that integrate ecosystem conservation with sustainable development, through:
  • Facilitating community initiatives,
  • Contributing to improved dissemination of information, knowledge and understanding,
  • Supporting the protection and conservation of natural resources and their sustainable uses,
  • Promoting environmental stewardship that contributes to healthy communities,
  • Using conservation science to educate and influence individuals and decision-makers about the consequences of various development options and conservation priorities within the biosphere reserve.

Many organizations are already working within the Eastern Georgian Bay Coast to conserve the important biodiversity of this region, and several planning initiatives are currently in progress.  These include cottage community plans, municipal Official Plans, planning for parks and protected areas, the Great Lakes Conservation Blueprint, a bi-national assessment of Great Lakes Islands, Georgian Bay Land Trust & the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Eastern Georgian Bay Natural Area Plan, and the Georgian Bay Coast Project, among many others.  Sharing & coordination of these planning efforts will improve the effectiveness of the conservation community in better conserving this region.

One of the goals of the GBBR is to foster more co-operation, collaboration and information-sharing on existing research and monitoring activity so that programs become more effective, and knowledge gained becomes better applied to planning and decision-making.

While considerable research and monitoring have been and are being conducted within the Biosphere Reserve, most of it is based on the program objectives of the organizations conducting the work.  A shared regional concept fostered by a Biosphere Reserve designation could help to collate information from these different sources and use it to help communicate an overview of issues of concern within the whole Georgian Bay coastal region.