Great Bear Rainforest First Nations
First Nations have lived in the Great Bear Rainforest since the glaciers of the last ice age receded.
Ecological health, community well-being
In Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest, we have been a part of creating a new model for ecosystem-based management that supports both the ecological health and community well-being of that region. Our goal is to engage in projects like this in other regions where we work when appropriate and possible.
We provide technical capacity to First Nations to increase their understanding of ecosystem-based management, and we have also supported Ecosystem-Based Management Learning Forums. These fora brings together practitioners in resource management (e.g. forestry and GIS technicians, land use planners, marine use planners) in an experiential learning environment, and creates a place for them to network and share knowledge with each other.
ForestEthics supports a wooden toy business project managed by the Qqs Society of the Heiltsuk community of Bella Bella. The project uses a small amount of wood to make high value, native designed, wooden toys. The project is expected to grow to provide year round employment and revenue.
Learn more about our work to help build sustainable local economies >>
Protecting forests, protecting values
We actively supported First Nations’ efforts to be recognized as governments with authority over their traditional territories during the negotiations that resulted in the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. We worked with First Nations in the Great Bear to establish a new type of legislation for protected areas, called conservancies. The legislation prohibits industrial development, but allows First Nations’ traditional and cultural uses within the protected areas.
On February 7, 2006, a majority of the coastal First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest and the province announced agreements on land use designations for the Central Coast and North Coast, setting in stone the unprecedented success in the Great Bear Rainforest.
We also collaborated with First Nations to create a $120 million conservation financing fund, called the Coast Opportunity Funds. This fund supports First Nations stewardship and monitoring of the conservancies and conservation-based economic development opportunities. A new standards of logging practices, currently transition to full ecosystem-based management, provides strengthened protection not just for ecological values, but also for First Nations' cultural and heritage values.
Learn more about the Great Bear Rainforest >>
First Nations Awarded for their Innovative Work
In 2010, ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC nominated Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative and Nanwakolas Council – for the Land Award given by the Real Estate Foundation BC to recognize their leadership in crafting the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements and shepherding the Agreements towards reality on the ground and in their communities. Read the press release announcing their award here.