Kelp holds great cultural and ecological significance for Indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest. Kelp has been used for centuries as a food source, medicine, and material for crafts and ceremonies. These forests also provide important habitat for a wide variety of marine life, which has sustained Indigenous fishing practices for generations. Today, many Indigenous communities are working to restore and protect kelp beds as part of their cultural heritage and efforts to promote ocean health.
Kelp forests are underwater habitats made up of many different species of kelp that form canopies over the seafloor. Kelp forests thrive in cool, nutrient-rich waters along rocky coastlines in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic Oceans. These towering underwater forests harbour thousands of marine species, providing food and shelter, much like forests on land.
Globally, over 40 percent of kelp forests have declined over the past five decades as a result of climate change, overexploitation, and pollution. Kelp forests support biodiversity, coastal fisheries and livelihoods, and have the potential as a significant carbon sink. In British Columbia, kelp forests also provide important habitat for commercially and culturally valuable species such as herring, salmon and rockfish, as well as endangered northern abalone, in addition to being central to the traditions and well-being of Indigenous coastal communities.
For this project, veritree is working closely with Coastal Kelp and the Sechelt First Nations to restore kelp forest along their territory, Hotham Sound and Powell River in British Columbia, Canada.
New and innovative techniques will be used to seed bull kelp and sugar kelp. This project will produce millions of Kelp Sporophytes planted on a mix of line and green gravel in the Indigenous waters in British Columbia, Canada.