Healthy communities and thriving economies depend on the ecosystems that sustain them. Ecosystem-based management is an approach to planning and management that focuses on maintaining and where necessary restoring the ecological integrity of the land and marine environment as a foundation for sustaining our communities and economies.
In practice, this means asking first what needs to be sustained on the land to look after the needs of species and ecosystems, then planning human activities within these ecological limits so that they can be sustainable over the short and long term. An ecosystem-based approach recognizes that ecological integrity and First Nations’ cultural integrity are inextricably linked.
West Coast has long been involved in efforts to integrate ecosystem-based approaches into planning and management in BC, including:
- Supporting Indigenous nations in developing and legally implementing ecosystem-based land use plans and marine spatial plans.
- Analyzing how well existing provincial and Canadian laws safeguard ecosystems in light of the cumulative effects of multiple forms of development and climate change, and recommending systemic changes to get BC and Canada on track.
- Drafting Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards for forest management in BC. Like standards for organic food production, these rigorous standards allow consumers to choose FSC-certified wood products from BC forests managed in an ecologically and socially responsible manner.