The Great Bear Rainforest is a vital natural, cultural and economic resource for First Nations, coastal communities and all of British Columbia. To be successful here, conservation must step beyond traditional boundaries. It must go beyond the preservation of individual parks or preserves and protect the ecological integrity of the entire system while at the same time respecting indigenous cultures and strengthening local economies. To make a lasting difference, conservation must be sustainable — ecologically and economically.
Based on these ideas, the people of the Great Bear Rainforest are working to build a new, more sustainable relationship with the forest itself. This new relationship is described as ecosystem based management (or EBM).
What is Ecosystem Based Management?
Ecosystem based management is an approach to natural resource management that integrates ecological, economic and social principles to safeguard the long-term ecological sustainability, natural diversity and productivity of natural systems. On the ground, the result will be a comprehensive network of protected areas within a well-managed working landscape.
In this region, conservation and management practices must provide for the active engagement of all parties: First Nations, whose traditional territories extend over the entire Great Bear Rainforest, as well as governments, industry, conservation interests, local communities and other stakeholders. Within this coalition, the Conservancy is providing scientific and conservation planning expertise to support the creation and implementation of EBM-based land use plans.
Ecosystem based management means a new approach to conservation and economic activities throughout the whole of Great Bear Rainforest. It means gaining the commitment of the timber industry and coastal communities to sustainable management practices for timber and other natural and cultural resources. It can mean appropriate ecotourism, sustainable management for fisheries and other new enterprises. The economy of the Great Bear Rainforest is being “rebuilt to last” through EBM principles crafted by the people who live and work there.