This biosphere reserve is situated on the coast of the northwestern part of the Florida Peninsula within the Apalachicola River floodplain. It comprises Apalachicola Bay which is one of the most productive estuarine systems in the northern hemisphere.
Designation date: 1983
Regional network: EuroMab
Surface : 828,701 ha
- Core area(s): 94,983 ha
- Buffer zone(s): 445,441 ha
- Transition zone(s): 288,277 ha
Location: 84o 58’W; 29o44’ N
Located along the curve of the Florida Panhandle, the reserve encompasses 234,715 acres of diverse marine and terrestrial habitat. The Reserve boundaries include 52 miles of the lower river and its associated floodplain, most of Apalachicola Bay, two barrier islands, part of a third, and several small out-parcels. In the Central Gulf Coastal Plain Biosphere Reserve, there are typical estuarine and coastal formations with river channels, slough, backwaters, bay islands and swamp hardwood forests. The Apalachicola Basin has the highest species density of amphibians and reptiles in all of North America (north of Mexico).
Increased demand for water by large upstream cities and agriculture now puts pressure on the floodplain ecosystem. People in the area make their living mainly from fishing industry and tourism.
The highly productive estuary supports a historic fish and shellfish industry that employs approximately 5,000 individuals. Reduced development along the reserve has produced a unique coastal community and preserved culturally significant sites along the river and outlying islands.
Last updated: July 2019