Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs)

Over a decade ago, Coastal First Nations began exploring ways to generate income from our old growth forests without cutting more trees.

Coniferous boughs are abundant in our Traditional Territories so the idea to craft wild tree essential oils was born.

Today two Coastal First Nations communities are proud to create Great Bear Rainforest Essential Oils™, ethically-produced, sustainable essential oils made from the steam-distilled needles of conifers in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Coastal First Nations are working to protect and wisely use our rainforest to enhance community well-being.

Harvesting and Crafting Wild Products

The harvesting and crafting of wild forest products – non-timber forest products (NFTPs) – generates millions of dollars annually in British Columbia.

In 2007, Coastal First Nations undertook an NFTP study to explore the feasibility of harvesting essential oils from Western Redcedar that was abundant in our forests, and in later years expanded to other conifer species and shrubs.

Very little was known about the properties of conifer essential oils from north Pacific forests at that time. Through years of research, pilot distillations and analysis of the oils, we discovered the potent and high quality essential oils of Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Shore Pine, Lodgepole Pine, Douglas Fir, Amabilis Fir and Western Redcedar.

In 2011, Coastal First Nations partnered with a local aromatherapy company to create a signature blend for guestroom amenities as a successful trial run.

Currently, the Nuxalk Development Corporation and Metlakatla Stewardship Society produce Great Bear Rainforest Essential Oils™, as a regional Aboriginal-owned and operated business supported by Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative.

The Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative supports Non-Timber Forest Products (NFTPs)

Projects to harvest and craft wild products help:

  • Provide local jobs people feel good about
  • Protect forests for the future
  • Develop specialized knowledge in product development, production and marketing of wild-harvested products

Going Wild! Teaching about Wild Products from BC’s Coastal Rainforests

A Guidebook for Educators for Grades 4-7

NFTPs connect First Nations students with their rainforest culture. CFN-GBI developed a teacher’s guidebook with Sierra Club, the Centre for Non-Timber Resources at Royal Roads University and First Nations educators.

Great Bear Rainforest Essential Oils™ is a partner of the Great Bear Business Corporation and all use of the GREAT BEAR mark, and Great Bear Rainforest trademark is under license from the Great Bear Business Corporation.