From 1990-1999, a small group of people dedicated themselves to the figuring out how to protect the invaluable Clayoquot Sound region. Looking at the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve program, they decided it was the best move to begin to help sustain the environment and ecosystems. When the official nomination was made in 1999, that small group had brought together the many communities and First Nations of the area, as well as the federal and provincial governments. By 2000, the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (CSUBR) was born. So what does that mean?
Upon its designation, the federal government entrusted a $12 million grant to the communities in the reserve. This was meant to go towards the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve’s goals: seeking sustainable ways to work with natural environments and preserving a healthy ecosystem “with a diversified economy and strong, vibrant and united cultures.” Biosphere Reserves also have legally protected areas including core areas for long-term protection of landscapes and ecosystems, buffer zones and transition zones/zones of cooperation. The zones of cooperation are where resources may be used in a way that is sustainable and that works with the community and natural environment. Designating protected areas was an incredibly important addition to the area, which was being confronted with diminishing resource stocks – a tough hand to play when most of the income came from fishing and forestry.
Additionally, the endowment fund received is managed in order to create educational programs and perform research into how to best sustain such delicate and incredible ecosystems. Located in one of few temperate rainforests in the world, CSUBR is in charge of some pretty unique creatures and systems. Besides towering coastal trees, there are bodies of water like lakes, rivers and streams, the ocean, rugged coastal shores, beaches, mudflats and estuaries to consider. Inside all of those areas are creatures of utmost importance; some rare, some endangered and all of them too precious to lose. Of course, there’s also a budget to celebrate the Clayoquot Sound as well.
The UNESCO part of the title comes together under their “Man and the Biosphere Programme”. Basically, it has created a number of learning sites around the world (600+) so that communities are enabled to come together to figure out the issues the world is facing today in terms of environmental and cultural preservation. Together, they’re hoping to figure out how to keep all the natural systems healthy, while making sure the needs and issues that arise from growing communities and cultural groups are addressed. All in all, there are around 200 projects and activities going on in Canada alone.
Wandering through our stunning rainforests and along the pristine sand beaches feels a little more special when you think about how much effort is going into protecting them. Spend some time getting to know the First Nations cultural traditions too… Together these features create the West Coast atmosphere visitors come to love from their time on the western shores of Vancouver Island.
Contributed by: Laurissa Cebryk
Info and facts sourced from: http://clayoquotbiosphere.org/