The Rainforest Solutions Project

[Design Science is] the effective application of the principles of science to the conscious design of our total environment in order to help make the Earth’s finite resources meet the needs of all humanity without disrupting the ecological processes of the planet.” –R. Buckminster Fuller

SUMMARY: The Rainforest Solutions Project is a unique and innovative coalition consisting of Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC and Stand (formerly ForestEthics) and formed as a project of Tides Canada Initiative. For almost 2 decades, they have had a singular mission of “pioneering collaboration between deeply divergent interests (government, First Nations, environmentalists and logging companies) in the Great Bear Rainforest to develop a world-leading legal and policy framework called Ecosystem-Based Management”.

PROBLEM SPACE: The Rainforest Solutions Project embraces the conservation challenge of simultaneously meeting human and ecological wellbeing. They played a critical role in identifying a science-based threshold for ecological integrity in coastal temperate rainforests to limit industrial logging activities, and helped to develop a new social and economic decision-making framework. Their approach speaks to an intimate understanding of the problem that few organizations have been able to successfully tackle.

SOLUTION: The decades-long struggle over British Columbia’s enormous coastal rainforests culminated in one of the most extraordinary conservation, social justice, and indigenous rights victories in recent memory: a historic multi-generational agreement between the parties to conserve and sustainably manage the 15-million acre Great Bear Rainforest, one of the largest old growth temperate rainforests on the planet. Eighty-five percent of these forests are now legally off-limits to logging.

The Rainforest Solutions Project’s cutting-edge work to collaboratively co-design Ecosystem Based Management in the Great Bear Rainforest has resulted in a 15-million acre case study for the paradigm shift required to concurrently respect indigenous rights and conserve the Earth’s lungs, for species, culture and climate, now and for future generations.

The design element of this project is the method of principled, multilateral negotiations that respects and upholds indigenous rights; fosters partnerships between divergent economic, political, and ecological values; and embraces the scale and complexity at which all of these systems operate. The Rainforest Solutions Project also maps out the often unglamorous but so necessary measures of knowledge transfer, monitoring, and continued problem-solving required to sustain such an achievement. This is the design of a model for healthy interaction between human beings and Spaceship Earth involving larger, longer, and more complex interrelationships.

For more information, please visit the Rainforest Solutions Project website: