Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest

About Our Work

Economic Alternatives

Strong and sustainable local economies are needed for long-term conservation success and healthy functioning ecosystems are needed to sustain and fulfill human life. That is why a key element of the 2006 agreements was the establishment of a dedicated fund that would support both sustainable economic development and conservation activities in coastal communities. To achieve this goal, environmental groups initiated a campaign that helped raise a $120 million conservation financing package funded through large private philanthropic donations along with major contributions from both the B.C. and Canadian government.

This conservation package, managed and disbursed through Coast Opportunity Funds, is a major contribution towards a higher quality of life in First Nations coastal communities.

The funds are divided into two groups:

  • A $58 million Economic Development Fund. The fund is to support economically viable and environmentally sustainable businesses, and is to be disbursed during the next 5-7 years. Projects eligible for funding include fisheries development, green building projects, non-timber forest product initiatives and cultural ecotourism activities. Projects that are NOT eligible for funding include open net-cage aquaculture, trophy Hunting, mining and unsustainable forestry practices.
  • A $56 million Conservation Endowment Fund. The fund is in the form of a permanent endowment which is used to support eligible conservation management projects and activities in perpetuity. Annual income from the fund, approximately $1.5 to $2.5 million annually, is used to distribute grants each year for conservation management projects in First Nations traditional territories in the Great Bear Rainforest. Key projects to date include funding for the Coastal Guardian Watchmen Network, which works to ensure that all communities have ‘eyes and ears’ in their territories to monitor resource use and the state of the environment.

The goal of Ecosystem-Based Management in the Great Bear Rainforest is to to maintain ecological integrity as an overarching context for achieving high levels of human well-being. As part of the collective efforts to implement EBM on the ground, the three environmental organizations have worked with Coastal First Nations to facilitate EBM Learning Forums in different communities along the coast, focusing on wide-ranging topics like management planning for protected areas, conservation financing, new logging regulations, and sustainable resource use. The three environmental organizations are also supportive of new First Nations tenure arrangements that support the implementation of EBM and First Nations access to resources and revenue, and support the creation of the ‘Great Bear Training Institute’ to increase education opportunities throughout the region.

For more information and resources, visit:
Coast Opportunity Funds
Coastal Guardian Watchmen Network