Ecosystem-based Management (EBM)

Central Coast First Nations continue to depend on the health of surrounding ecosystems to survive and flourish.

Over the past two centuries, however, the Western industrial economy has disturbed ancient linkages between human communities and their environment. To address the harm of the industrial economy on natural ecosystems the scientific community coined the term ecosystem-based management (EBM), which recognizes that conventional resource management does not consider broader ecosystem dynamics or the linkages between communities and the environment, and is threatening biodiversity.

Central Coast First Nations have been practicing ‘ecosystem-based management’ for thousands of years. These traditional resource management and enhancement practices contributed to the sustainability of some of the richest cultures and societies on the planet. The principles and practice of what western scientists and resource planners now call EBM are integral to the resource management direction in our plan. First Nations principles fundamental to EBM include:


Precautionary / inclusive and participatory

The need for respect in interacting with the natural world and other humans is described in numerous First Nation oral histories. It encompasses the maintenance and restoration of ecological integrity, stewardship of resources and places, being inclusive and participatory, and applying the precautionary principle to ensure that decisions today are not detrimental to future generations.


Integrated & sustainable over the long-term

Balance ensures the inter-generational equity (fairness to future generations) that has sustained First Nations cultures through time. Balance encompasses the modern concepts of sustainable use, integrated management and the fair distribution of costs and benefits.

Intergenerational knowledge

Adaptive management

Within Central Coast First Nations communities, ‘listening to your elders’ speaks to inter-generational transfer of knowledge. Adaptive management is a modern term that expresses the similar concept that decisions should be based on learning from past experience. Inter-generational knowledge and successful adaptive management require good communication.

Giving and receiving (reciprocity)

The act of giving thanks is practiced throughout Central Coast First Nations cultures. Reciprocity within and between clans, and reciprocity with the spirit world is necessary. The principle of reciprocity speaks to shared responsibility and community – two themes, which are cornerstones of First Nation’s culture.

Two people in a raft viewing two bears

Photo Credit: Doug Neasloss

A traditional canoe with bushes behind it near the water

Photo Credit: Aaron Heidt

An adult and a child dancing and wearing regalia

Photo Credit: Doug Neasloss

A totem pole near a path with buildings and a flag in the background

Photo Credit: Sheldon Tallio