Land protection in some of Canada’s most threatened terrestrial habitats
Over the past three years, Raincoast’s capacity has grown to include a land trust. This means we have the ability to purchase land to safeguard ecosystems in perpetuity.
Raincoast established the Forest Conservation Program (formerly known as the Gulf Islands Forest Project) in 2019 with the intention of exploring pathways to strengthen protection of the rare and threatened habitats characteristic to the Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) zone, particularly on the Gulf Islands. However, land in this region is disproportionately under private ownership, unlike the rest of British Columbia. This means that protection options are limited, especially on the Gulf Islands where the Islands Trust, despite being legally mandated to preserve and protect the “unique environment” of the region, is significantly restricted in its ability to implement meaningful ecological protection.
Though work pursued under the Forest Conservation Program (FCP) still endeavours to push the needle on better environmental protection policy, in late 2020 it became clear that while we worked for policy reform, forests continued to be destroyed: the Raincoast Land Trust was born.
In 2021, we successfully purchased our first conservation property in collaboration with the Pender Islands Conservancy (“the Conservancy”). S,DÁYES Flycatcher Forest is a 13-acre habitat on North Pender Island, W̱SÁNEĆ Territory. The land hosts a maturing grove of stately cedar trees, a wetland that supports the Buck Lake Reservoir watershed, and maturing stands of coastal Douglas-fir, western redcedar, and arbutus.
In 2023, we announced the success of our second land protection initiative with the Conservancy. KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest is a 45-acre property, also on S,DÁYES, which prior to the initiation of our protection campaign, had been slated for development. Had these plans proceeded, the property would have been transformed from a maturing forest at the coastal interface into a residential suburb.
And this is just the beginning.
The Raincoast Land Trust
Moving forward, science and conservation staff from Raincoast and the Conservancy will spend time getting to know the lands we have protected, and mobilize what we learn in the design and implementation of ecological restoration and land management plans. Though the Raincoast Land Trust falls under the umbrella of our Forest Conservation Program and its operation is complementary to the work undertaken by that program, they are separate branches on the same tree.
Land protection and ecological restoration are not set-it-and-forget-it endeavours. This work requires ongoing attention, monitoring, and adaptation–particularly considering the uncertainties of climate change. As such, we have established a Restoration Fund, to give Raincoast supporters the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing enhancement of the conservation lands they made it possible to purchase. Donations made to this fund will be used to conduct baseline assessments, establish monitoring and science programs, and support other land management activities.
Forest Conservation Program
|Support the Restoration Fund||Support other Forest Conservation Program activities|
|• Land purchase|
• Ecological restoration
• Management planning
• Land monitoring
|• Coastal Douglas-fir research and education|
• Policy analysis and engagement
• Research collaborations
• Other program elements (e.g. Pender Islands Big Tree Registry)
For those interested in supporting other Forest Conservation Program activities and projects, that is possible too! Donations made to the Forest Conservation Program fund will be dedicated to policy work, research, and all the other work involved with securing stronger protections for CDF habitats.
Questions? Want to get involved?
Contact Shauna Doll, Forest Conservation Program Director
Raincoast Conservation Foundation
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