UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve

The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve seeks to achieve a balance between the conservation of our natural and cultural heritage, and economic activity through sustainable resource development that supports prosperous local economies and healthy communities.

The unique climate of the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve is home to an extremely diverse collection of species. The most amphibians and reptiles east of Ontario can be found in the Biosphere Reserve. The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve is a hotspot for biodiversity and is home to 75% of Nova Scotia’s species at risk. It encompasses many terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems including the Acadian Forest, rolling plains, drumlins and coastal cliffs. The core of the biosphere reserve is the largest protected wilderness area in the Maritimes.

The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve preserves and promotes the cultural integrity and heritage in the region. The rich culture of the region includes Mi’kmaq land stewardship, the founding settlements of the first French and early British colonies as well as the Black Loyalists along the southwest shore region in Shelburne county. The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve includes Mi’kmaq, Acadian, English, Scottish and many other cultures. The result of this diversity is a unique mix of traditions, food, festivals and communities.

Visit the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve Culture, Heritage and Science Interpretive Centre at 90 Water St. in Yarmouth.

The Tobeatic Wilderness Area

With dozens of remote lakes, the “Toby” and the adjacent Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site together protect 142,000 hectares of mixed woods, barrens and wetlands. It’s the wild soul of the Maritimes and the heart of the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve.

The Tobeatic’s interconnected lakes, streams and rivers offer outstanding wilderness canoeing, angling and camping opportunities. This storied region of Nova Scotia is best known for its mainland moose, trout streams and rugged canoe routes through rocky lakes and wild rivers. These routes and portages, first travelled by the Mi’kmaq, supported a world-class “sportman’s” guiding tradition through the late 19th and early 20th century. They include much of the “Tent Dwellers” canoe route, made famous by Albert Bigelow Paine’s 1908 account of back country guiding and sportfishing adventures in this region. Because the region is remote, a licensed guide is recommended. Visit novascotia.com for more information.


"The wilderness will welcome you, and teach you, and take you to its heart. And you will find your own soul there; and the discovery will be worth while!"