Conserving endangered Gulf Islands forests

The Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) bio-geoclimatic zone is the smallest and most endangered of 16 such zones in British Columbia. According to BC’s Conservation Data Centre, nearly every ecological community in the CDF is provincially listed as threatened or endangered. The Gulf Islands represent 33.2% of CDF forests and associated habitats, and are the Traditional Territories of dozens of Coast Salish Nations. However, due to significant development pressure, a high proportion of private land ownership, and the impacts of climate change, the fragile ecological communities that make the Gulf Islands and the eastern coast of south Vancouver Island so unique are unravelling from former levels of diversity and abundance. 

The ultimate goal of the Gulf Islands Forest (GIF) project is to secure long-term protection for CDF forests and associated ecosystems throughout its natural range. 

We are employing multiple approaches to achieve this, including land acquisition and stewardship, community science initiatives, nature-based climate solutions, and improvements to the Islands Trust land use policy.

We also organized a number of online learning opportunities that focussed on topics like demystifing nature-based carbon projects, the complexities of tree and forest protection on private land, and expert panel discussions that unpack complex environmental problems currently faced by local governments. 

We also released a series of “How-To” videos to assist people across BC in their big tree hunting adventures. The Pender Islands Big Tree Registry is a living database of big trees across North and South Pender Islands, which has grown to include over 100 trees. We also produced a comprehensive report on implementing tree bylaws in the Islands Trust. 

One of the greatest achievements in 2021, however, was the purchase of S,DÁYES Flycatcher Forest, a 13-acre conservation property on North Pender Island with our partners at the Pender Islands Conservancy Association.

Support our mobile lab, Tracker!

Our new mobile lab will enable the Healthy Waters Program to deliver capacity, learning, and training to watershed-based communities. We need your support to convert the vehicle and equip it with lab instrumentation. This will allow us to deliver insight into pollutants of concern in local watersheds, and contribute to solution-oriented practices that protect and restore fish habitat.

Sam Scott and Peter Ross standing in front of the future mobile lab, which is a grey sprinter van.