Our Priorities

Resilient Lands and Waters

the sun sets over the rocky shoreline of great slave lake, a cold-water lake in Canada's Northwest Territories
Great Slave Lake Shores of Great Slave Lake looking out to Christie Bay © Pat Kane

Working Together for Thriving Communities and Ecosystems

With a land base of nearly 2.5 billion acres replete with critical ecosystems and biodiversity, Canada can lead the world in addressing the biodiversity and climate crises, while ensuring nature is the foundation of human well-being. From forest to sea, we work to create lasting conservation solutions that support thriving communities and ecosystems.

Community-led land- and marine-use plans guide decisions about how resources are managed and used. First Nations are asserting governance priorities, revitalizing Indigenous laws and setting visions for the future. 

We work with Indigenous partners to create land- and marine-use plans that articulate the specific visions Indigenous Nations have for the people, wildlife and ecosystems on their territories. Our goal is to support communities as they integrate their values into regional resource decision making.

Indigenous-led resource planning is key to achieving lasting results.

When Indigenous communities have the capacity and resources they need to manage the lands and waters in their territories, conservation results are effective and long-lasting. At the invitation of partners, we provide facilitation, training, funding and other tools to help enable center Indigenous values in natural resource use planning.

We support community-led land-use visioning in places such as Clayoquot Sound, where we work in partnership with First Nations including the Ahousaht. In 2017, we supported the Ahousaht First Nation in a process to identify areas that should continue to be protected alongside areas where development, tourism and other activities have had impact. We also coordinate and facilitate Indigenous-led processes like Healthy Country Planning in communities across Canada.

Ultimately, conservation planning is about ensuring Indigenous perspectives are actively integrated into actions and decisions that impact the well-being of communities and livelihoods.

Healthy land and seascapes hinge on strong governance systems. Nature United supports ecosystem-based managed approaches that balance ecological, social and economic benefits.

We do this by investing in resource management departments, Indigenous Guardians, and youth-on-the-land programs to build monitoring and management capacity. We also convene voices from industry and government to develop solutions that contribute to social, economic and environmental outcomes.

Ecosystem Based Management Projects

  • An aerial view of Koeye in the traditional territory of the Heiltsuk First Nation, in the Great Bear Rainforest.

    Great Bear Rainforest Agreement

    This Indigenous-led effort resulted in the protection of 7.4M acres with co-management regimes that increased First Nation management authority. An additional 10.8M acres managed by some of the world's most stringent forestry rules and regulations. Learn More

  • The BC Government and First Nations marked a historic milestone in 2015 when the MaPP plans were completed.

    Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP)

    Established in 2015, MaPP is a unique partnership between 17 Indigenous First Nations governments and the British Columbia government that provides a "blueprint" for ocean use and sustainable economic development. Learn More

  • SEAS student Tina Lobbes on a boat with fishermen Justin and Vernon Brown in Great Bear.

    Climate Ready Fisheries

    Nature United is working to advance climate-ready policies that consider climate dynamics and environmental uncertainty in decisions about harvest levels and fisheries management. Learn More

To ensure enduring results, Indigenous-led conservation must be supported by long-term, sustainable funding solutions that advance the authority of Indigenous Peoples to manage the lands and waters within their territories.

Conservation finance is a transformative tool for Indigenous Nations and local communities as they work to solve some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges. It is critical that new financing tools (e.g .carbon offsets, stewardship endowments, eco-tourism fees) that are meant to support Indigenous communities’ land management be developed and implemented in such a way that is driven by their needs within their governance structure.

A successful strategy will result in more Indigenous-led conservation with improved management outcomes through programs like Indigenous Guardians—which will help Canada achieve its ambitious climate and biodiversity targets.

Deborah Froeb Conservation Finance Strategy Advisor

Conservation Financing Projects

  • Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna and Chief Darryl Marlowe celebrate after signing agreements to establish Thaidene Nene, a new national park in Canada. On August 21, Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation signed Establishment Agreements with Parks Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories that mark a historic milestone for Thaidene Nëné.

    Thaidene Nëné Trust

    In partnership with the Łutsël K’é’ Dene First Nation, Nature United helped raise initial funds for a $30M trust to support Łutsël K’é's management of Thaidene Nëné, including trainings, planning, research, monitoring and economic development. How the Thaidene Nëné Trust funds Indigenous-led governance.

  • Students in a canoe in Manitoba

    Advancing Policy

    We work with government to inform and move forward policy changes in support of conservation finance instruments that enable more Indigenous-led conservation and generate revenue for Indigenous communities. How we work with governments.

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

Our Priorities

United as Nature and People

Our vision is for a sustainable Canada where nature is the foundation of human well-being, prosperity and opportunity for future generations.