About the Long Point Biosphere

Where are we?

Long Point is located on the north shore of Lake Erie, Ontario, about 2.5 hours south west of Toronto. Situated in Norfolk County, Long Point and the surrounding watershed is an area rich with natural and cultural heritage in the heart of Carolinian Canada; home to a wide array of species, biodiverse ecosystems, and incredible scenery.




Biosphere reserves have geological boundaries; they may be found completely inland, along the coast or enclosing natural watersheds. The land inside a biosphere reserve can vary greatly and is made up of three basic zones: the core, the buffer and the zone of influence. The latter is sometimes referred to as a transition zone.

  • The Core Area is usually a protected natural area that acts as a reference point. This area usually defines the biosphere reserve. In Long Point Biosphere’s case the core area includes the Long Point National Wildlife Area and Backus Woods.
  • The Buffer Zone surrounds the Core Area and can be managed in ways that support the conservation objectives of the Core Area.
  • The Zone of Influence (Area of Cooperation) extends beyond the core area and is sometimes defined by geographical boundaries. In Long Point Biosphere’s case the Zone of Influence has no outer limit.  The Long Point Biosphere Reserve Zone of Influence encompasses most of Norfolk County.

When And Why Was Long Point Designated A Biosphere Reserve?

The Long Point area comprising 26,250 hectares, was designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in April, 1986, the third in Canada. Today it is one of 18 Biosphere Reserves in Canada. It provides an example of the Great Lakes coastal ecosystem and a unique blend of habitats.

Long uninterrupted beaches, undisturbed sand dunes, grassy ridges, wet meadows, woodlands, marshes and ponds, cold water streams, and the shallow Inner Bay. It is a world-renowned refuge and stopover for migrating birds in fall and spring, and waterfowl viewing is excellent in March and April. Its delicate dunes and marshes teem with songbirds, spawning fish, turtles and frogs.



The Southern Norfolk sand plains that lie immediately to the north of Long Point are well-known for their rich agricultural lands, tallgrass prairie and oak savanna remnants, wetlands and forests. Farmers, woodlot owners and other rural property owners living here take great pride in practicing sound land stewardship and value the interaction they have with the biodiversity in this special part of Ontario.

Within the watersheds that feed Long Point Bay are some of the finest examples of Canada’s remaining Carolinian forest and habitats that have arguably the highest diversity of plants and animals anywhere in our country. This includes a wide variety of fish and game as well as many species at risk such as the threatened Eastern Fox Snake, Blanding’s Turtle, the endangered American Badger and, Eastern Flowering Dogwood.

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