North Karelia Biosphere Reserve

Biosphere reserves are model areas for sustainable development designated under the Man and the Biosphere programme (MaB) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Biosphere reserve's sustainable development model combines regional sustainable development and interdisciplinary research with extensive local collaboration. There are 738 biosphere reserves in 134 countries. The total area covered by biosphere reserves around the world amounts over 7 million km2 (2022).


The North Karelia Biosphere Reserve was established in 1992 and consists of protected areas and their surrounding environments where human activities are taking place. The North Karelia Biosphere Reserve officially consists of Lieksa city, Ilomantsi municipality and Joensuu city's Tuupovaara district, but biosphere reserve related activities are carried out throughout the province of North Karelia.


Biosphere reserve activities focus on regional sustainable development by promoting the economy, nature protection and environmental awareness through research, education and collaboration. The goal is to develop regional practices that consider nature, the economy, culture and communities.


englanninkielinen kartta biosfäärialueesta

North Karelia Biosphere Reserve activities in practice

Biosphere reserve activities

Partnership Network

Partners implement sustainable development in their daily practices. The network supports partners on their sustainability path and increases the visibility of their good practices.

Cross-sectoral collaboration

Support from the local, regional, national and international networks.

Development projects

Finding practical solutions to local sustainability challenges together with collaborators and partners.