P’hwulhp | Garry Oak and Associated Ecosystems

Conservation and Stewardship

Hwtl’upnets | Maple Mountain is home to endangered Garry Oak and Associated Ecosystems that have been identified as a priority for conservation and stewardship.

In the recent past Garry Oak and Associated Ecosystems (GOEs) thrived over much of our region in southeast Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. This unique habitat provided abundant food and resources to diverse Indigenous communities within Traditional Coast Salish territory. It is also home to the greatest biodiversity of any terrestrial ecosystem in BC, with more than 100 species of plant, lichen, insect, reptile, mammal and bird at risk of extinction. Today, less than 5% of these important ecosystems remain due to the cumulative effects of land development, invasive species, and fire suppression. Hwtl’upnets | Maple Mountain stands out among the remaining fragments of GOEs for the relatively pristine state of its southern and eastern slopes, and its assortment of rare species found in few other places in the province.  Hwtl’upnets | Maple Mountain falls within the lands of the Hul’qumi’num people where Garry Oak is known as  P’hwulhp.

Due to this decline, the Province of BC through a funding partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada has identified Garry Oak and Associated Ecosystems as priority places for conservation and stewardship. We are aiming to connect with private landowners and residents in the area to further awareness of the importance of these ecosystems and how people in the community can help conserve and restore these special places.

Volunteer Stewardship

Conservation and stewardship involve learning to identify both the native species which characterize the ecosystem as well as invasive species that threaten it. It is important to learn and use best practices for removal of invasive species such as Scotch broom and Daphne (spurge laurel). The Cowichan Community Land Trust is eager to help landowners and residents learn these practices and support individual and community restoration efforts. Our voluntary stewardship team is focused on removing scotch broom and other invasive plant species from priority areas in the local municipal forest on Hwtl’upnets | Maple Mountain.

Join the Friends of Hwtl’upnets Maple Mountain Garry Oak Ecosystem Stewardship Team!

Conservation Options for Property Owners

As landowners with larger areas of Garry Oak and associated ecosystems, there are several ways you can protect these special places.

Voluntary stewardship agreements are a non-legally binding way to activate conservation and stewardship on your property. These agreements are adapted to conservation, stewardship, and restoration activities to the level that works for the landowner and can be changed or ended as needed. These may range from allowing conservation monitoring on the land annually to more involved restoration efforts. Participants are recognized with a small sign on their driveway to celebrate their efforts and promote awareness in the community. Conservation covenants are a way you can conserve ecologically sensitive areas on your land that are legally binding in perpetuity, and potentially provide tax benefits for you. You can learn more about conservation covenants from the Land Trust Alliance of BC:

Learn about the federal ecological gifts program:

Please Get In Touch!

These efforts are in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Province of British Columbia, and the BC Conservation Foundation. Please be in touch to let us know how we can work together to protect these unique and threatened areas of our beautiful Cowichan region.

Email: info@cowichanlandtrust or by Phone: 250-746-0227