The biosphere reserve

Manicouagan-Uapishka has been a UNESCO area with international designation status since 2007, but the biosphere reserve essentially emerged as early as in 2002, driven by the local greater community. The reserve is part of a vast network of sites, including four in Quebec, 18 in Canada and over 700 worldwide. The Manicouagan-Uapishka World Biosphere Reserve (MUWBR) is not a protected area per se, as its name may suggest, but the outcome of an extensive joint effort by the development leaders of our region.

What is a biosphere reserve?

A biosphere reserve is a UNESCO international designation (MAB program) that recognizes the potential and efforts of stakeholders in a territory likely to become a site of excellence in terms of sustainable development. “Working Together” is a top priority. The network currently has 701 sites in 124 countries.

« Since receiving international designation, the Manicouagan-Uapishka Biosphere Reserve has demonstrated innovation and empowerment to mobilize partnerships: It has become an inspiring model for the entire world network. »

Meriem Bouamrane | Program Specialist (MAB, Paris)

A Short Story of Great Vision

In 2002, several Manicouagan stakeholders met in Baie-Comeau with the goal of obtaining the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status. The project promised to be as uncertain as it was interesting. On the one hand, the consultation process meant was a major challenge given the diversity of users on the territory. On the other hand, very few reserves in the world had managed to get large industries involved in such a challenging process, which was unavoidable in Manicouagan.

A territory of 54,800 km2 to discover

The entire Manicouagan area, including the City of Baie-Comeau and all the villages along the St. Lawrence River, from Pessamit to Baie-Trinité, are part of the biosphere reserve. “Uapishka” refers to the Groulx Mountains and means “white summits” in Innu-aimun.