Protecting threatened forest ecosystems in BC

An excerpt from our annual report, Tracking Raincoast into 2023.

One of the primary focuses of the Forest Conservation Program in 2022 has been the permanent protection of KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest. Having raised over $2 million in less than a year, we are currently 98% of the way toward our $2.18 million fundraising goal. We are so close and there are just days left for us to meet our target. The campaign ends at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2023. Can you help us to secure this 45 acre forest for the future?

Our Forest Conservation Program, previously called the Gulf Islands Forest Project, was initiated just over three years ago. It has been evolving to identify and implement strategies to safeguard the threatened coastal forests standing sentinel at the edge of the Salish Sea. These strategies have included policy review, education programs, a community big tree initiative, restoration, and land protection. 

The Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) biogeoclimatic zone is among the most threatened ecosystems in BC. Since settler arrival, ecosystems in this region have been converted and fragmented, leaving a patchwork of altered landscapes. Less than 1% of the historic extent of old growth remains and biodiversity has plummeted due to removal of Indigenous stewardship practices, alien species invasions, and disruption of local trophic cascades. 

We have spent 2022 working toward the purchase and permanent protection of KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest on S,DÁYES (Pender Island) with our partner, Pender Islands Conservancy. This 45 acre forested property is a meeting place between land and sea, and weaves together a connectivity corridor.

Both KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest, and S,DÁYES Flycatcher Forest (acquired in 2021), are located in W̱SÁNEĆ territory. These land protection initiatives aim to safeguard forests for future generations, guided by management regimes that support W̱SÁNEĆ food systems, land healing practices, and education programs. To support our efforts to protect CDF forests, Raincoast joined The Land Trust Alliance of BC in spring of 2022. 

We’ve been collecting expert perspectives for a series called The Story of the CDF. Though anthropogenic degradation within the CDF has been profound in the past 150 years, humans have been part of these ecosystems for millenia longer. While human decision-making has been the problem, it can also be the solution. Project TEACH, another initiative facilitated by Raincoast, sought to connect both Indigenous Knowledge and academic science to explore policy solutions in the CDF and neighbouring ecosystems. 

Looking to 2023, we will increase our efforts to heal CDF forests through land-based restoration, community engagement, education, and research, all rooted in our commitment to safeguard forests for the future.

Beautiful display of design of inside pages and cover of Tracking Raincoast into 2023.

You can help

Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government, and other NGOs to build support and inform decisions that protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the wildlife that depend on them. We conduct ethically applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for conservation deliberations and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. We inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities. We inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.