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Isle Royale Biosphere Reserve, United States of America

Isle Royale Biosphere Reserve and National Park is a remote island archipelago, situated in the northwestern portion of Lake Superior (Michigan). The park offers outstanding possibilities for research in a remote ecosystem where human influences are limited. 

Designation date: 1989


Regional network:  EuroMab

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 3,990,000 ha

    • Core area(s): 1,032,636 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 1,057,364 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 1,900,000 ha

    Location: 73o 20’W; 44o 00’ N

    Administrative Authorities

    Mark Romanski
    Isle Royale National Park, NPS
    United States of America

    Tel.: N/A


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    Ecological Characteristics

    The Isle Royale Biosphere Reserve is world renowned for its long-term wolf (Canis lupus)/moose (Alces alces) predator/prey study. 

    Vegetation is mainly of boreal conifer and northern hardwood forest type. In the cooler and wetter areas near Lake Superior, balsam fir (Abies balsamea), white spruce (Picea glauca) and paper balsam (Betula papyrifera) dominate the mature forest. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) dominate the warmer and drier sites in the interior of the biosphere reserve. The area’s waters contain the most productive native fishery and genetically diverse trout populations in Lake Superior.


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    Timber harvest of white pine (Pinus strobus) and sugar maple (Acer saccharum) for syrup has occurred in the past. Acid rain as well as high levels of PCB’s in the lakes may have severe impacts on the natural ecosystems. An atmospheric monitoring station is situated within the national park.

    The area's most important economic activity is tourism. The Island is a tourism destination with some of the highest repeat use, according to data from the US National Park System (NPS).



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    Last updated: July 2019