British Columbia, Canada
The assessment site in North and Central Coastal British Columbia (BC) covers
the coastal waters, islands, and watersheds of the Canadian Pacific from the
Alaskan border south to the Strait of Georgia and from the summits of the
coastal ranges west to the continental slope. It includes Haida Gwaii/Queen
Charlotte Islands (QCI) and northern Vancouver Island. The region has a land
area of 11 million hectares and marine area of 11 million hectares.
The Coast Information Team (CIT) has been established to provide independent
information on the region using the best available scientific, technical,
traditional, and local knowledge. CIT was set up by the Provincial Government
of British Columbia, First Nations of the region, environmental groups, and
forest products companies.
Mr. Robert Prescott-Allen
627 Aquarius Road
Victoria BC 9B 5B4
Phone: (+1) 604-474-1904
Fax: (+1) 604-474-6976
The CIT’s information and analyses are intended to assist First Nations and
three sub-regional planning processes to make decisions that will achieve
ecosystem-based management (EBM), defined as “an adaptive approach to managing
human activities that seeks to ensure the coexistence of healthy, fully
functioning ecosystems and human communities”. The assessment will include a
Wellbeing Assessment that measures current environmental and human conditions
in each of the eight sub regions that make up the CIT analysis region, to
provide a context for decision making, a test of options and scenarios, and a
baseline for monitoring implementation of the plans and progress toward EBM and
Ecosystem services being assessed
Provisioning services: food, fiber, biochemicals, minerals.
Regulating services: air quality, climate regulation, water regulation.
Cultural services: sustenance, heritage, spiritual, recreational, tourism.
Supporting services: ecosystem representation, rare or at risk taxa and
ecosystems, habitat supply.
PDF versions of all reports will be posted on the CIT web site (www.citbc.org)
and provided to the sub-regional and First Nations planning processes. Metadata
and all public domain data will also be made available via the site.
Key features of assessment
The region is the heart of the Northeast Pacific archipelagic coast, one of the
world’s three large glaciated leading edge coastal zones (the others being
Norway and southern Chile). These zones are on the leading edge or collision
margin of tectonic plates and have been sliced and diced by glaciation. Hence
they have narrow to nonexistent coastal plains, drop sharply from mountain
heights to ocean depths, and are incised by fiords, fissured by channels, and
broken into islands large and small.
Biologically and culturally, the Northeast Pacific is extremely diverse. North
and Central Coastal B.C. include the world’s largest tracts of intact temperate
rain forest, once abundant runs of Pacific salmon, and the northern or southern
limits of many species. Globally unique hexactinellid sponge reefs lie in deep
troughs of the continental shelf. Several endemic species of plants and animals
and an endemic subspecies of black bear occur on Haida Gwaii/QCI; and an
unusual white form of the black bear—the Spirit bear—lives on Princess Royal
Island. The region’s cultural diversity stems from the variety of its human
population: 25 First Nations (aboriginal peoples) in four linguistic groups:
Haida (2), Coast Tsimshian (5), Heiltsuk-Wuikala (3), Coast Salish (1), and
Kwakwala (14); as well as a sample of the rest of the Canadian ethnic mosaic.
The CIT began work in January 2002 and will complete the assessment by December
2003. The current approved budget is CA$3.2 million. Funding is provided
largely by the Provincial Government with substantial contributions from the
environmental NGOs, forest product companies and the Federal Government. The
Provincial Government also provides GIS support.