The Manicouagan-Uapishka World Biosphere Reserve; where evidence-based conservation decision-making rhymes with exemplarity, innovation and solidarity
- Marianne Valcourt, Manicouagan-Uapishka World Biosphere Reserve
The presentation will give an insight of the Manicouagan-Uapishka World Biosphere Reserve (MUWBR) and highlight the different conservation projects and initiatives and how we stay true to our values (exemplarity, innovation, and solidarity) through our actions. The MUWBR obtained its UNESCO international designation status in 2007 and is since an important factor in the development of the Manicouagan region in Québec, Canada and stands out within a world network of excellence. Our top priority as a biosphere reserve is to strengthen the collaboration between all stakeholders in the territory, in order to work together to achieve the goals of sustainable development. Part of the Pessamit Innu’s Nitassinan, bordered by the St-Lawrence River to the South and the 5 000 km2 Uapishka mountain range to the North, the MUWBR territory has a lot to offer. There are a few protected areas within the biosphere reserve, the most active and widely used of which is the Uapishka Biodiversity Reserve, which covers the western part of the Uapishka Mountains. The uniqueness and remoteness of those mountains attract hikers and researchers every year. The growing numbers of visitors, and the global warming bring new challenges in terms of conservation and education. Therefore, the MUWBR has many ongoing projects regarding long-term monitoring of alpine plants (GLORIA protocol), climate surveillance with the implementation of weather stations, monitoring of the impact of hiking trails on alpine tundra plants with drones, to name a few. Therefore, the MUWBR participates in management committee consultations and conservation plans for the Uapishka Biodiversity Reserve and provides tangible data to help make evidence-based decisions. In addition, other scientific data can be used in the decision making of the Biodiversity Reserve Management Committee through our many partnerships with university researchers and/or government entities. The MUWBR also has projects related to environmental education, and indigenous culture. As an example, the Pessamit Innu, in collaboration with the MUWBR, built the Uapishka station, a touristic and research facility, placed in the heart of the Innu’s Nitassinan, between the Manicouagan reservoir and the Uapishka Mountains. In addition, the Uapishka station has a new emergency and research shelter in the middle of the mountain plateau, which increases the level of safety for users of the territory and facilitates access to the heart of the Groulx Mountains for researchers. This shelter allows the realization of new research projects, such as long-term weather and flora monitoring.