The Long Point area was designated as a Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1986.
A biosphere reserve is a site that was established to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound science. Globally, biosphere reserves are considered sites of excellence for learning and implementing new practices for the UN Decade on Education and Sustainable Development.
Biosphere reserves are part of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and are considered to be places that seek to reconcile conservation of biological and cultural diversity and economic social development through partnerships between people and nature, they are ideal to test and demonstrate innovative approaches to sustainable development from local to international scales.
The Long Point World Biosphere encompasses a rich diversity of ecosystems and habitats that surround the large sand spit formed through erosion, along with some of the largest enduring forest tracts in Carolinian Canada. These ecosystems support a variety of flora and fauna; of special significance is the marsh area which is used as a main stopover area for migrating land birds and waterfowl.
The area is 40,600 hectares in size, with the sand spit extending about 32km out into Long Point. There are a number of stewardship programs underway in within our biosphere. They include a forest corridor project to restore terrestrial ecosystems on private lands; roadway improvement programs to reduce roadside wildlife mortality; and education and community development programs that focus specifically on sustainability.
Habitats in the Long Point Biosphere include woodlands, sand dunes, bluffs, marshes, ponds, meadows, beaches and lakeshore. Recorded in the biosphere and the surrounding area are 1,384 species of plants, 370 species of birds, 102 species of fish, 46 species of mammals, 34 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 91 species of butterflies. The Long Point National Wildlife Area is 3,650 hectares in size and it makes up the core of the biosphere reserve. It is managed by the Canadian Wildlife Service, while other protected areas are managed by the provincial and regional governments.