Frequently Asked Questions

The CDFCP is intended to be a forum for communication and collaboration regarding the maintenance and restoration of healthy Coastal Douglas-fir and Associated Ecosystems (CDFAE). The CDFCP recognizes the need for shared stewardship of CDFAE and will strive to focus resources collaboratively, strategically and transparently so as not to duplicate existing conservation efforts and to maximize conservation gains.

The CDFCP will strive to strategically address ongoing threats to CDFAE conservation due to growing human populations, development, and resource use through collaborative engagement of parties with the goal of raising awareness of conservation issues and promoting conservation objectives in a respectful manner.

A biogeoclimatic (BEC) zone is the highest level of ecosystem classification used in BC. The BEC zone describes a broad geographic area that contains similar patterns of vegetation and soils that are shaped by the area’s unique geology, geography and climate.

The Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) biogeoclimatic zone is the smallest of B.C.’s 16 major ecosystems covering about 252,000 hectares. The CDF covers part of the lower Fraser Valley (including some of Metro Vancouver), portions of the Sunshine Coast, the southeast coast of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands south of Cortes Island. The CDF generally only occurs below 150 metres in elevation.

A list of organizations that have joined the CDFCP can be viewed on the Members page. Please note: a number of other “unaffiliated” individuals have also signed the SOC. We expect the number of partners to grow in the months ahead, and we are encouraging other groups in the region to get involved, including applicable government agencies (federal, regional and local), land trusts, environmental stewardship organizations, resource industry professionals, First Nations, private landowners and academic institutions.

In 2007, the Forest Practices Board released a report outlining concerns over forest harvesting of endangered and threatened ecosystems in the CDF. In response to this report, the provincial government established a Coastal Douglas-fir Conservation Strategy (2008).

As part of this strategy, six workshops involving various stakeholders were held between 2010 and 2012. These meetings allowed stakeholders to share information about CDF conservation issues and discuss how to better address conservation issues with First Nations, local governments, environmental groups, resource professionals and private landowners. The Coastal Douglas-fir and Associated Ecosystems Conservation Partnership is the result of those consultations.

One of the Coastal Douglas-fir Conservation Strategy’s key components is a commitment to raise public awareness and promote improved stewardship of the Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystem through collaborations with private landowners, First Nations, local governments and environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs).

One of the recommendations, from the feedback received at the workshops since 2010, was to include the Coastal Western Hemlock Eastern Very Dry Maritime (CWHxm1) variant in the discussion about CDF conservation because of the transitional area between the two biogeoclimatic units, the anticipated changes in boundaries due to the effects of climate change, and in many areas, similar levels of loss and fragmentation to that of the CDF. A key difference between the CWHxm1 and the CDF is that the CWHxm1 is much broader in range in BC and extends into the Pacific Northwest of the USA.

Activities that are having the most impact on the region are urban growth, industrial development, transportation infrastructure, forestry, agriculture and other human activities.

The CDFCP formed in 2011. We fully expect that other organizations with an interest in environmental stewardship in the region will step forward to participate.

Regardless of whether we have eight partners or 80 partners, this is important work that needs to be done. We are confident that interest in the partnership’s activities will grow as people learn more about its mandate and what its members hope to accomplish.

The CDFCP has set three core goals for working towards a vision of
ecological integrity for Coastal Douglas-fir and associated ecosystems
(CDFAE). Three strategies reflect the broad approaches the CDFCP will
use in achieving these goals.

  1. CDFAE values (including species and ecosystems at risk), are
    incorporated into local and regional policy and planning
    processes, and integrated into nature-based solutions for climate
    change mitigation and adaptation.
  2. Additional protection and stewardship of CDFAE is secured.
  3. CDFCP capacity to deliver the above goals is enhanced and

The CDFCP has obtained funding from the following organizations;

  • Southwest BC Priority Places Program – Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Nature Smart Climate Solutions – Environment And Climate Change Canada
  • The Nature Trust of BC
  • The Nature Conservancy of Canada
  • Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development (FLNRORD)
  • The Island Trust
  • The Real Estate Foundation of BC

The funding provided by these organizations is match funded with time contributed by the Steering Committee and its partners.

Because this partnership is composed of representatives from a broad spectrum of environmental organizations, governments and other interested parties, the partnerships’ recommendations should carry significant weight. We expect that our advice will be considered very seriously by decision-makers.

One of the advantages of this integrated and interdisciplinary approach is that members of the partnership will be working together to achieve a common goal, not just focusing on one aspect of the overall picture. We view this collaborative approach as one of the partnership’s greatest strengths.

This partnership brings together a broad range of stakeholders who are committed to working together to respond to existing or emerging environmental concerns in this region. Some of the initial goals of the partners are to reduce duplication of effort, pool resources and define shared priorities.

Members of the partnership are encouraged to devote their time and energy to finding creative solutions that reflect the needs and interests of all partners, not just one interest group. We anticipate that this will result in a more comprehensive and constructive approach than if each member tries to address these complex issues on its own.

The CDFCP includes representatives from a broad range of organizations that will have a range of views and focus areas. The members have always sought to co-operate, communicate and collaborate on important environmental issues.

A benefit of the partnership is that it considers the opinions of many different stakeholders and puts its recommendations into context, so informed and balanced decisions can be made.

The conservation partnership’s main objective is to provide science-based facts and sound advice to decision-makers who then must balance legitimate environmental concerns with the aspirations of the people and communities they serve. The partnership’s role is not to impede development, but to ensure that governments at all levels are aware of relevant environmental issues so they can make responsible choices in the best interests of their communities and local ecosystems. This partnership will carefully examine environmental concerns in the Coastal Douglas-fir zone and suggest appropriate ways to resolve those issues.

The CDFCP is led by a Steering Committee with participants from many of the partner organizations. Below the Steering Committee are working groups that will be developed as the need arises. The current Working Groups include:

a) Securement Working Group
b) Coastal Oak and Prairie Working Group

The CDFCP has a coordinator to facilitate work by the Steering Committee and the Working Groups.


  • There are multiple ecosystem and vegetation classification systems that describe ecosystems at different spatial scales.
  • For example, in BC, the Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) system and the Ecoregion classification (EC) system are two systems. BEC is not in use outside of BC where the EC system and others are used nationally, in the US and internationally. Both systems divide the province into smaller and smaller units. For example from larger to smaller:

                  – BEC units: Zone, Subzone, Variant, and Site Series

                  – EC units: Ecoprovince, Ecoregion, Ecosection

  • The BC Ministry of Environment Conservation Data Centre (CDC) uses the term ‘Ecological Community’ as the unit to describe ecosystems and they are treated similarly to species in that they are assessed and assigned conservation status ranks. The CDC uses the BEC system as well and in some instances site series are ‘rolled-up’ into a higher level of classification as they are recognized as the same ecosystem.

The CDF:

  • Technically speaking, the CDF zone in BC is actually the Coastal Douglas-fir Moist Maritime (CDFmm) Biogeoclimatic Subzone. There is no other BEC Subzone or smaller-scale BEC Variants and it is the only CDF BEC unit described in BC.
  • Due to differences in the ecosystem/vegetation classification systems in the US, the extent of the CDFmm subzone is unknown but very likely occurs in the San Juan islands. This is reflected in the current published literature. It is possible that it also exists in other small pockets along/near the coast of the adjacent mainland WA state.
  • If it were to be mapped in the US, the larger-scale CDF BEC Zone would likely go further south through WA and possibly into OR.


  • To reflect it is the only BEC unit in BC and to simplify communication, the Coastal Douglas-fir Moist Maritime (CDFmm) Biogeoclimatic Subzone is commonly referred to as the ‘CDF zone’.
  • The majority of the ecosystems in the CDFmm Subzone are unique to that BEC unit, are globally rare and at-risk. This is reflected by their provincial and global status rankings.
  • BC has the majority of the global range of these ecosystems and therefore, the responsibility for their conservation and stewardship.