Waterton Biosphere Reserve

Last updated
Waterton Biosphere Reserve
Upper Blakiston Falls
Canada Alberta relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
LocationSouthwestern Alberta, Canada
Coordinates 49°45′05″N113°49′03″W / 49.75139°N 113.81750°W / 49.75139; -113.81750 Coordinates: 49°45′05″N113°49′03″W / 49.75139°N 113.81750°W / 49.75139; -113.81750
Area66,761 hectares (257.77 sq mi)
Governing bodyWaterton Lakes National Park, Waterton Biosphere Association.

Waterton Biosphere Reserve (established 1979) is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve encompassing Waterton Lakes National Park in the extreme south-west of the Province of Alberta, Canada. The reserve includes 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 reserve is administered by Waterton Lakes National Park and the Waterton Biosphere Association. [1]

UNESCO Specialised agency of the United Nations

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

Man and the Biosphere Programme UNESCO conservation programme

Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) is an intergovernmental scientific programme, launched in 1971 by UNESCO, that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments.

Waterton Lakes National Park Improvement district in Alberta, Canada

Waterton Lakes National Park is a national park located in the southwest corner of Alberta, Canada. It borders Glacier National Park in Montana, United States. Waterton was the fourth Canadian national park, formed in 1895 and named after Waterton Lake, in turn after the Victorian naturalist and conservationist Charles Waterton. Its range is between the Rocky Mountains and prairies. This park contains 505 km2 (195 sq mi) of rugged mountains and wilderness.


Ecological characteristics

The steep environmental gradients from the Continental Divide to the prairies have created an unusually rich mosaic of habitats with their associated flora and fauna. [1]

Prairie ecosystems considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome

Prairies are ecosystems considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and a composition of grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type. Temperate grassland regions include the Pampas of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, and the steppe of Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. Lands typically referred to as "prairie" tend to be in North America. The term encompasses the area referred to as the Interior Lowlands of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, which includes all of the Great Plains as well as the wetter, hillier land to the east.

Habitat ecological or environmental area inhabited by a particular species; natural environment in which an organism lives, or the physical environment that surrounds a species population

In ecology, a habitat is the type of natural environment in which a particular species of organism lives. It is characterized by both physical and biological features. A species' habitat is those places where it can find food, shelter, protection and mates for reproduction.

The biosphere reserve covers prairie grasslands, aspen grove forests, subalpine forests, alpine tundra and meadows, cliffs, lakes and freshwater wetlands as well as disturbed, heavily grazed land in the prairies. [1]

<i>Populus tremuloides</i> species of deciduous tree native to cooler areas of North America

Populus tremuloides is a deciduous tree native to cooler areas of North America, one of several species referred to by the common name aspen. It is commonly called quaking aspen, trembling aspen, American aspen, Quakies, mountain or golden aspen, trembling poplar, white poplar, popple, as well as others. The trees have tall trunks, up to 25 meters tall, with smooth pale bark, scarred with black. The glossy green leaves, dull beneath, become golden to yellow, rarely red, in autumn. The species often propagates through its roots to form large clonal groves originating from a shared root system. These roots are not rhizomes, as new growth develops from adventitious buds on the parent root system.

Alpine tundra biome

Alpine tundra is a type of natural region or biome that does not contain trees because it is at high elevation. As the latitude of a location approaches the poles, the threshold elevation for alpine tundra gets lower until it reaches sea level, and alpine tundra merges with polar tundra.

Prairie grasslands including Danthonia spp., Festuca scabrella and prairie Junegrass; aspen grove forests with quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), Amelanchier alnifolia and cow parsnip {Heracleum latanum); alpine tundra/high meadows characterized by Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), limber pine (P. flexilis) and white barkpine (P. albicaulis); arctic-alpine communities above the tree line dominated by Dryas octopetala and Polemonium viscosum ; upper subalpine forests with alpine larch (Larix lyallii), Luzula hitchcockii , Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) and subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa); lower subalpine forests dominated by Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir; deciduous forest, coniferous forests dominated by Douglas fir and limber pine; cliffs, lakes and freshwater wetlands; disturbed, heavily grazed land with quaking aspen, Urtica dioica , Bromus inermis and Phleum pratense . [1]

<i>Danthonia</i> genus of plants

Danthonia is a genus of Eurasian, North African, and American plants in the grass family. Members of this genus are sometimes referred to as oatgrass, but that common name is not restricted to this genus. Other common names include heathgrass and wallaby grass.

  1. Danthonia alpinaVest – central + southern Europe; Ukraine, Turkey, Caucasus
  2. Danthonia annableaeP.M.Peterson & Rúgolo – Bolivia, Argentina
  3. Danthonia araucanaPhil. – Chile
  4. Danthonia boliviensisRenvoize – Bolivia
  5. Danthonia × breviaristata(Beck) Vierh – France, Italy, Austria, Czech Rep, Romania
  6. Danthonia brevisetaHack. – Rio de Janeiro
  7. Danthonia californicaBol. – BC ALB SAS WA OR CA NV ID UT MT WY SD CO AZ NM; Chile
  8. Danthonia cernuaDöll – Brazil
  9. Danthonia chaseanaConert – Minas Gerais
  10. Danthonia chiapasensisDavidse – Chiapas
  11. Danthonia chilensisÉ.Desv. – Argentina, Chile incl Juan Fernández Is
  12. Danthonia cirrataHack. & Arechav. – Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay
  13. Danthonia compressaAustin – mountain oatgrass, flattened oatgrass, slender oatgrass – eastern North America from Georgia to Nova Scotia + Ontario
  14. Danthonia decumbens(L.) DC. – common heath grass – Europe, North Africa, Turkey, Caucasus
  15. Danthonia domingensisHack. & Pilg. – Hispaniola, Jamaica
  16. Danthonia holm-nielseniiLaegaard – Ecuador
  17. Danthonia intermediaVasey – timber oatgrass, intermediate oatgrass – western United States, Canada, Russian Far East
  18. Danthonia malacantha(Steud.) Pilg. – Chile incl Juan Fernández Is
  19. Danthonia melanathera(Hack.) Bernardello – Argentina
  20. Danthonia montevidensisHack. & Arechav. – Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay
  21. Danthonia parryiScribn. – ALB SAS CO MT WY NM
  22. Danthonia rhizomataSwallen – Brazil, Uruguay
  23. Danthonia rugoloanaSulekic – Salta
  24. Danthonia secundifloraJ.Presl – from Mexico to Uruguay
  25. Danthonia sericeaNutt. – eastern + central United States
  26. Danthonia spicata(L.) Roem. & Schult. – poverty oatgrass, simply poverty grass – from Alaska + Greenland to Veracruz
  27. Danthonia unispicata(Thurb.) Munro ex Macoun – onespike oatgrass – ALB BC SAS WA ID MT OR WY SD UT NV CA
<i>Festuca</i> genus of plants

Festuca (fescue) is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the grass family, Poaceae. They are evergreen or herbaceous perennial tufted grasses with a height range of 10–200 cm (4–79 in) and a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring on every continent except Antarctica. The genus is closely related to ryegrass (Lolium), and recent evidence from phylogenetic studies using DNA sequencing of plant mitochondrial DNA shows that the genus lacks monophyly. As a result, plant taxonomists have moved several species, including the forage grasses tall fescue and meadow fescue, from the genus Festuca into the genus Lolium, or alternatively into the segregate genus Schedonorus.

<i>Koeleria macrantha</i> species of plant

Koeleria macrantha is a species of grass known by the common name prairie Junegrass in North America and crested hair-grass in the UK. It is widespread across much of Eurasia and North America. It occurs in a large number of habitat types, especially prairie.

Socio-eonomic characteristics

As of 1996, Waterton had a permanent population of 279 people and a seasonal population of about 2,250 during the peak summer season. 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. [1]

Blood Indian Reserve No. 148 Indian reserve in Alberta, Canada

Blood 148 is a First Nations reserve in Alberta, Canada. It is inhabited by the Blood (Kainai) First Nation and was established under the provisions of Treaty 7. This reserve is located in Stand Off along Highway 2 and the Belly River.

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. [1]


The reserve's surface area (terrestrial and marine) is 66,761 hectares (257.77 sq mi). The core area is 46,285 hectares (178.71 sq mi), surrounded by buffer zone(s) of 6,312 hectares (24.37 sq mi) and transition area(s) of 14,164 hectares (54.69 sq mi). [1]


Definition of Free Cultural Works logo notext.svg  This article incorporates text from a free content work. License statement : UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory , UNESCO, UNESCO. To learn how to add open license text to Wikipedia articles, please see this how-to page . For information on reusing text from Wikipedia , please see the terms of use .

Related Research Articles

Biosphere reserves of Poland

UNESCO Biosphere Reserves are environment-protected scientific-research institutions of international status that are created with the intent for conservation in a natural state the most typical natural complexes of biosphere, conducting background ecological monitoring, studying of the surrounding natural environment, its changes under the activity of anthropogenic factors.

San Francisco Peaks Arizona

The San Francisco Peaks are a volcanic mountain range in north central Arizona, just north of Flagstaff and a remnant of the former San Francisco Mountain. The highest summit in the range, Humphreys Peak, is the highest point in the state of Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m) in elevation. The San Francisco Peaks are the remains of an eroded stratovolcano. An aquifer within the caldera supplies much of Flagstaff's water while the mountain itself is in the Coconino National Forest, a popular recreation site. The Arizona Snowbowl ski area is on the western slopes of Humphreys Peak, and has been the subject of major controversy involving several tribes and environmental groups.

Rocky Mountains subalpine zone

The Rocky Mountains subalpine zone is the biotic zone immediately below tree line in the Rocky Mountains of North America. In Colorado, the subalpine zone occupies elevations approximately from 9,000 to 12,000 feet ; while in northern Alberta, the subalpine zone extends from 1,350 to 2,300 metres.


Krummholz or krumholtz — also called knieholz — is a type of stunted, deformed vegetation encountered in subarctic and subalpine tree line landscapes, shaped by continual exposure to fierce, freezing winds. Under these conditions, trees can only survive where they are sheltered by rock formations or snow cover. As the lower portion of these trees continues to grow, the coverage becomes extremely dense near the ground. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the formation is known as tuckamore. Krummholz trees are also found on beaches such as the Oregon coast, where trees can become much taller than their subalpine cousins.

The biogeoclimatic zones of British Columbia are a classification system used by the British Columbia Ministry of Forests for the Canadian province's fourteen different ecosystems. The classification system exists independently of other ecoregion systems, one created by the World Wildlife Fund and the other in use by Environment Canada, which is based on one created by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) and also in use by the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The system of biogeoclimatic zones was partly created for the purpose of managing forestry resources, but is also in use by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment and other provincial agencies. A biogeoclimatic zone is defined as "a geographic area having similar patterns of energy flow, vegetation and soils as a result of a broadly homogenous macroclimate."

Ecology of the Rocky Mountains

The ecology of the Rocky Mountains is diverse due to the effects of a variety of environmental factors. The Rocky Mountains are the major mountain range in western North America, running from the far north of British Columbia in Canada to New Mexico in the southwestern United States, climbing from the Great Plains at or below 1,800 feet (550 m) to peaks of over 14,000 feet (4,300 m). Temperature and rainfall varies greatly also and thus the Rockies are home to a mixture of habitats including the alpine, subalpine and boreal habitats of the Northern Rocky Mountains in British Columbia and Alberta, the coniferous forests of Montana and Idaho, the wetlands and prairie where the Rockies meet the plains, a different mix of conifers on the Yellowstone Plateau in Wyoming and in the high Rockies of Colorado and New Mexico, and finally the alpine tundra of the highest elevations.

North Central Rockies forest

The North Central Rockies forests is a temperate coniferous forest ecoregion of Canada and the United States. This region gets more rain on average than the South Central Rockies forests and is notable for containing the only inland populations of many species from the Pacific coast.

Great Basin montane forests

The Great Basin montane forests is an ecoregion of the Temperate coniferous forests biome, as designated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Bogd Khan Uul Biosphere Reserve is a nature reserve in Mongolia, situated to the south of Ulan-Bator. It is in the southern part of the forest steppe zone and is in the Khentii Mountains area. It includes Bogd Khan Mountain, and was designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1996.

Bryansky Les Nature Reserve

The Bryansk Nature Reserve is a nature reserve in Bryansk Oblast, Russia along the Nerussa River near the Russian border with Ukraine.

Visim Nature Reserve

Visim Nature Reserve is a Russian 'zapovednik' protecting an area of southern taiga in the low Middle Ural Mountains. in 2001, it was named a UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve. It is named for the ancient village of Visim, which was home to the Russian writer Dmitry Mamin-Sibiryak, who wrote about rural life in the Urals. Most of the reserve is located on its western slope in the headwaters of the Sulёm River, a right tributary of the Chusovoi River, part of the vast Volga-Kama basin. Part, however is on the eastern slope in the Ob River watershed. The reserve thus straddles the Europe-Asia continental divide: water from the reserve flows into both the Caspian Sea through the Volga River, and the Kara Sea through the Ob River. The reserve is situated in the Kirovgrad District of Sverdlovsk Oblast, about 100 km northwest of Yekaterinburg.

Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere reserve in United States Of America | designated in 1976

Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located in the southern Sierra Nevada of California. The 349,543 hectares (1,349.59 sq mi) biosphere reserve comprises Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Niwot Ridge is an alpine ecology research station located 65 km north-west of Denver in north-central Colorado. It is on the Front Range of the southern Rocky Mountains and lies within the Roosevelt National Forest.

Fraser Biosphere Reserve Biosphere reserve in United States Of America | designated in 1976, withdrawn 2017

The Fraser Biosphere Reserve and Experimental Forest is a former UNESCO Biosphere Reserve situated on the west side of the Continental Divide in north-central Colorado and includes the entire watershed of Main St. Louis Creek, a tributary of the Fraser River.

Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve Biosphere reserve in Canada | designated in 2000

The Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve covering 112,200 hectares (433 sq mi) in the province of Saskatchewan, southwest Canada. The regional landscape is composed of rolling prairie dotted with seasonal ponds and marshes along with aspen/shrub groves. The core area is Redberry Lake, a saline lake with several islands. There are small patches of natural mixed prairie which are very rare in this highly grazed and cultivated part of the prairies.

Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve Biosphere reserve in Cuba | designated in 2000

The Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve situated on the southern coast of Cuba at Matanzas province. The 628,171 hectares (2,425.38 sq mi) reserve encompasses the Zapata Swamp and is one of the largest and most important wetlands in the Caribbean region with a marine southern borderline. Ciénaga de Zapata was designated a Ramsar site in 2001. This area is a cluster biosphere reserve with several core areas, highly valuable for conservation located in the Ciénaga de Zapata National Park.

Los Volcanes Biosphere Reserve Biosphere reserve in Mexico | designated in 2010

Los Volcanes Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located within the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt of south-central Mexico. The 171,774.4 hectares (663.225 sq mi) reserve surrounds the volcanoes of Popocatépetl and Ixtaccíhuatl and marks the biogeographical boundary between the Nearctic and Neotropic ecozones. The reserve is managed by Iztaccíhuatl Popocatépetl Zoquiapan National Park.

Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve Biosphere reserve in United Republic Of Tanzania | designated in 1981

The Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the depression of the East African Rift Valley in the Lake Manyara Basin in northern Tanzania. The reserve is managed by Tanzanian Lake Manyara National Park.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory: Waterton" . Retrieved 2 June 2016.