In recent years declining Pacific salmon populations have raised significant concerns among First Nations and communities on the BC Coast. These declines are believed to be influenced by various factors, including the historical and ongoing effects of forestry activities. Beginning in 2015, Ecofish worked with the Kwiakah First Nation to understand potential effects of forestry to salmon populations in Phillips Arm and to better inform sustainable forest management strategies for salmon and watershed conservation throughout BC. Since that time, the initiative has expanded via research and development contributions from Ecofish and in 2023, a research collaboration with the Salmon Coast Field Station, Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Fisheries Group, the University of Toronto, and the University of Victoria.
The project offers several essential services:
- Spatial Analysis: By examining the patterns of historic forestry activities across the BC Coast, we are able to identify potential relationships between the intensity of forestry and salmon population declines and identify critical intervention points for conservation.
- Salmon Population Analysis: The project employs stock-recruit modeling to analyze salmon population data. This technique helps us to understand the environmental drivers of salmon population dynamics, including the role of watershed processes and land management in how they influence salmon production.
- First Nations Engagement and Collaboration: Engagement with First Nations communities provides crucial Indigenous Knowledge that is integrated with scientific research, ensuring a holistic approach to conservation.
By shedding light on the intricate relationship between forestry practices and salmon populations, the outcomes of this research will help guide sustainable forest management strategies in the future, contributing to informed decision-making and creating a balance between economic activities and environmental conservation.