Great Bear Rainforest

Threats

First Nations communities on the Coast have witnessed the depletion of natural resources in their territories occur at an alarming rate. Many traditional food sources such as abalone and eulachon have all but disappeared in certain areas and other species like salmon are severely impacted by resource extraction.

Ecosystem-Based Management

Ecosystem-based management is an approach to resource management that recognizes that people, communities and the land are inseparable. Choices must consider the health of both people and the land that sustains them. 

Ecosystem-based management has two overarching goals:

  • Maintain ecosystem health
  • Improve human well-being

Conservancies

Conservancies are new protected areas that accommodate Aboriginal Rights and Title and protect natural and cultural values.  Conservancies will be collaboratively managed by both First Nations and the Province.  In conservancies, First Nations can continue traditional practices such as harvesting cedar, hunting and fishing and pursue conservation-based commercial activities such as:

  • Wildlife viewing
  • Guided-fishing
  • Small-scale hydro for local needs
  • Cultural ecotourism

Land and Resource Agreements

Land and resource agreements for the Great Bear Rainforest were successfully negotiated in 2006 between coastal First Nations leaders and the Province. These landmark agreements:

  • Increase the rightful authority of coastal First Nations to govern and manage their territories
  • Set aside one-third of the region in new protected areas called conservancies
  • Create new rules for a lighter touch sustainable approach to forestry called ecosystem-based management
  • Ensure that ecological and human wellbeing are achieved over time

Great Bear Rainforest

BC’s Great Bear Rainforest is one of the largest intact areas of coastal temperate rainforest remaining on Earth.  Influenced by the ocean and Coast mountain ranges, abundant rainfall makes the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of the Great Bear Rainforest (also known as the Central and North Coast of BC) some of the most productive and biologically diverse on the planet. Five species of salmon, Sitka spruce trees, rainforest wolves and eulachon are just some of the unique plant and animal populations found in the region. 

It is the diversity of these lands and waters that has supported the rich cultures of 25 different First Nations since time immemorial.  Today First Nations living in small remote communities up and down the coast rely on the abundance of the land and sea for traditional food, social and ceremonial uses, from medicinal plants to local food sources such as roe on kelp, salmon and deer.  For over a century, First Nations have witnessed unprecedented exploitation of land and marine resources in this globally significant part of the world.