Photo: River Voices Productions

Indigenous protected and conserved areas

Indigenous Peoples throughout Canada are taking a leadership role in protecting places that are essential to them and securing spaces where they can actively practise Indigenous ways of life.

Terrestrial biodiversity and Indigenous governance in the boreal

Canada’s vast boreal forest is the world’s largest intact forest ecosystem. It reaches from coast to coast, touching almost every province and territory in Canada.

These 270 million hectares are the traditional territories of more than 600 First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

In many places, these traditional territories have been significantly disturbed by logging, mining, and oil and gas activities. The cumulative impacts of these activities have impaired or abolished the rights of Indigenous peoples to carry out their traditional livelihoods.

This needs to change.

Establishing Indigenous-led protected and conserved areas, or tribal parks, is one way in which Indigenous communities are reclaiming what they see as their deep-rooted relationship to the land.

Indigenous protected and conserved areas are envisioned, declared and governed or co-governed by Indigenous peoples. IPCAs are a lived reality, practised and experienced by members in their lives and on the ground.

Indigenous collaboration

We support Indigenous‐led conservation activities in the boreal, including the establishment of Indigenous protected and conserved areas.

We do this by:

  • Working to support Indigenous communities to establish tribal parks. 
  • Addressing community-level initiatives in communities where we have existing relationships.
  • Sharing each other’s expertise in policy, science and traditional ecological knowledge.
  • Amplifying Indigenous voices through outreach.
  • Participating in ongoing government relations. 

Empowering Indigenous communities in British Columbia

As a part of its efforts to support Indigenous-led conservation, the David Suzuki Foundation coordinated a conversation between the Province of British Columbia, the federal government and several First Nations about how to create a supportive regulatory landscape so that Indigenous communities are empowered to successfully establish and govern Indigenous protected and conserved areas.

Read a summary of the workshop

Science and Learning Centre