Our Work Across Canada

British Columbia

an aerial view of old-growth trees in clayoquot sound
Clayoquot Sound An aerial view of Clayoquot Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island in the Canadian province of British Columbia. © Bryan Evans

Large-Scale Land and Ocean Conservation

In British Columbia, Nature United works alongside Indigenous partners to achieve lasting conservation results in key geographies, where old-growth forests are integral to addressing climate change and supporting resilient communities.

Our Work in British Columbia

Right now, there is a critical window of opportunity in British Columbia.

In partnership with Indigenous communities, we can realize the priorities and interests of First Nations and inspire new models for Indigenous-led conservation. Drawing on our more than a decade experience in this region we are helping to advance Indigenous stewardship, leadership, governance and sustainable economic development. And we are delivering innovative approaches to the climate crisis through Natural Climate Solutions.

  • SEAS students Tina Lobbes and Mercedes Robinson retell a traditional story to an audience of Nature United and Tides Canada staff and donors in Dis'ju, Great Bear Rainforest.

    Indigenous-led Stewardship

    We support resilient youth and Guardian programs across BC that are sustainably funded and inspire new program development across the region—through the growth and dissemination of accessible tools and resources. Learn about our Emerging Leaders initiative.

  • Ernest (Charlie) Mason, a hereditary chief in the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais Nation, is also a fisherman. He works as a boat operator and a bear guide for the Spirit Bear Lodge.

    Climate-Resilient Fisheries

    We are encouraging the development and implementation of creative solutions that advance science and policy to support more climate-resilient fisheries.

The coastal forests of Clayoquot Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island are the traditional territory of three First Nations: the Ahousaht, Hesquiaht, and Tla-o-qui-aht. This region is a stunning mosaic of emerald valleys, clustered islands and thousand-year-old trees. In 2000, the area became British Columbia’s first UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. 

Despite its significance, Clayoquot Sound is vulnerable to unsustainable logging, mining and other development.

In 2008, our global affiliate was invited by local First Nations to support their efforts to advance land-use visions for Clayoquot Sound. In the years since, we've worked with the Nations to complete drafts of their visions, engage Provincial government in the process, and implement an Economic Development Action Plan protocol with the BC Government. 

We are working to protect one of the world’s last intact coastal temperate rainforest for the next generation while addressing climate and social justice issues that have eroded old-growth forests, wild salmon runs, and the economic well-being of communities.

The Great Bear Rainforest and the archipelago of Haida Gwaii is a land and seascape spanning more than 43 million acres (17.5M ha) across the central and north coast of British Columbia.  It is home to 27 First Nations who have inhabited and stewarded the lands and waters for thousands of years. It is the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest.

With mist-shrouded valleys and glacier-cut fjords and old-growth forests, it provides habitat for some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet—including the iconic “spirit bear” (Kermode bear), a rare subspecies of black bear that has white fur and is found nowhere else on Earth.



In 2006, our global affiliate was invited to support protection and sustainable management of 15 million acres (6.4M ha) in the Great Bear Rainforest and 2.6 million acres (1.05M ha) on Haida Gwaii. This partnership resulted in the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, which was signed between First Nations and the British Columbia government in 2016. 

Alongside this, our global affiliate made a $39 million contribution to a conservation endowment and supported the creation of Coast Funds. These funds are part of a $60 million endowment that supports Indigenous stewardship throughout the region and provides capacity for First Nations to co-manage the area’s resources alongside the provincial government.

Located along the northern and central coasts of British Columbia in Canada, the Great Bear Sea is one of the planet’s most biodiverse marine areas. It surrounds the Great Bear Rainforest, part of the largest intact coastal temperate rainforest on Earth. 

British Columbia’s marine coast is a critical natural corridor where ocean and land are inextricably connected. Cedars, wolves, grizzly and black bears rely on salmon for survival; First Nations rely on these waters for food, jobs and cultural well-being; industries like fishing and tourism depend on healthy, thriving waters.

I truly believe that in order to understand what’s going on and effect change that is durable over time, you have to work at the local level with the people who are on the water and deeply connected to the resources.

Jenn Burt Marine Program Lead

Downloads

  • Navigating predator‐induced regime shifts in human‐ocean systems

    Enabling Co-Existence

    Navigating predator-induced regime shifts in human-ocean systems by Jenn Burt

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  • A briefing summarizing the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fisheries webinar on July 12, 2021.

    Climate Resilience, Lessons from Abroad

    Case studies from around the world on pioneering efforts to build climate resilience into fisheries and coastal communities, including one from Nature United on BC.

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  • A resource for planning your on-the-land Indigenous youth program.

    SEAS Toolkit

    A resource for planning on-the-land Indigenous youth programs

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  • for Valuing Coastal Guardian Watchmen Programs

    Valuing Coastal Guardian Watchmen

    A business case for Indigenous Guardian programs prepared by EPI EcoPlan International, Inc. for Nature United and The Coastal Steward Network.

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  • An infographic describing Nature United's marine program

    Marine Program

    A visual overview of Nature United's marine program.

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  • An innovative collaboration between 17 First Nations and the Province of BC for ocean protection.

    Celebrate Coastal Conservation

    An overview of the Marine Plan Partnership.

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British Columbia's 21-million-acre Great Bear Rainforest is the largest coastal temperate rainforest on Earth.
Humpback Whale British Columbia's 21-million-acre Great Bear Rainforest is the largest coastal temperate rainforest on Earth. © Jon McCormack