HCTF’s Strategic Plan 2022-27 provides high-level guidance to the HCTF Board, staff and technical committees. The following Guiding Principles and Priority Statements were developed to provide additional guidance regarding how and where HCTF will invest its funds.

Priority Guiding Principles

HCTF gives priority to activities and investments that:

  • Are scientifically rigorous and relevant to HCTF’s mission;
  • Provide clear and measurable outcomes; and,
  • Demonstrate multiple partners or other expressions of meaningful
    or measurable support.

Priority Statement 1: Native Species and Habitats

HCTF gives priority to activities and investments which benefit native species and their habitats; that provide compelling evidence that the work or activity will result in enduring conservation benefits for native species and habitats and that benefit multiple native species and habitats.

NOTE: HCTF gives priority to proven conservation activities and investments, but we also encourage the use of innovative ideas and solutions that benefit native species and habitats.

Context for Native Species and Habitats

Native species and habitats include three important elements: (Adapted from Biodiversity BC website)

  • Composition: the identity and variety of an ecological system such as habitat types and species present;
  • Structure: physical characteristics that support species and habitats such as size, connectivity; and,
  • Function: the ecological and evolutionary processes that affect life such as pollination, decomposition and nutrient recycling, natural disturbances and predator-prey relationships.

HCTF Terms

  • Species

    Includes all of B.C.’s native plant and animal species and the processes that are critical to their existence

  • Habitats

    The natural environment in which species normally live and the processes by which habitats are created and maintained

  • Conservation Benefits

    Anything that improves conditions or outcomes for species and/or habitats can be considered a benefit; this includes restoration, enhancement and maintenance.

  • Conservation Impact

    HCTF Technical Review Committee has ranking criteria to address the project’s potential to achieve conservation impact. A high-scoring proposal fills an identified, critical need; will contribute directly to positive conservation outcomes for fish, wildlife, and their habitats in BC; and identifies specific and measurable outcomes.

  • Innovative Ideas

    HCTF encourages applicants to submit proposals with innovative, adaptive or new ideas or techniques that put forth a strong case they have a high liklihood of achieving measurable conservation benefits.

Priority Statement 2: Connection to Nature

HCTF gives priority to activities and investments that directly connect British Columbians to conservation and nature.

Context for Connection to Nature:

A connection to nature has been shown to influence environmental concern and an improvement in attitudes and behaviours toward the natural world.

HCTF wants to inspire and empower British Columbians and their communities to understand and care for the natural world through environmental education, outreach and stewardship actions.

HCTF Terms

  • Connection to Nature

    HCTF gives priority to proposals which:

    • Directly connect people to conservation of the natural world, where that connection results in stewardship actions; and
    • Connect people to nature as part of an outreach or communication component of a larger project.

Priority Statement 3: Climate Change

HCTF gives priority to activities and investments that promote resiliency and persistence of species and habitats in the face of climate change.

Context for Climate Change:

Climate can impact species and habitats at both temporal (the time period of climate change) and spatial scales (a geographic region of climate change). The effects of climate change are complex and varied, whether it is animals moving across an increasingly fragmented landscape to find food, plant distributions shifting in response to altered moisture regimes, or species and habitats being threatened due to ecosystem conversion and degradation.

Consideration of climate change is not a new HCTF funding category or a separate subset of HCTF projects; rather, it is a lens through which all projects will be evaluated. HCTF encourages proposals that focus on mitigating or adapting to climate change, or that incorporate mitigation and adaptation into a larger proposal seeking to benefit native species and habitats.

HCTF Terms

  • Resiliency

    Ecological resilience is the capacity of an ecosystem to cope with disturbance or stress and return to a stable state. (Vold, T. and D.A. Buffett (eds.). 2008. Ecological Concepts, Principles and Applications to Conservation, BC. 36 pp. Available at:

  • Persistence

    Ecological persistence is a component of resiliency and is a measure of how long a population will last, especially faced with being disturbed or altered.

  • Consideration of Climate Change

    Project design addresses likely impact of climate change. For example, a restoration project would select species relevant to projected future conditions at the site.

Priority Statement 4: Habitat Acquisitions

HCTF gives priority to proposed acquisitions that connect important habitats; and are informed and guided by conservation plans at the appropriate spatial and temporal scales.

Context for Acquisitions:

All investments will be looked at through the lens of climate change. While HCTF will continue to invest in acquisitions that address existing threats to species and habitats, we will give priority to lands that provide cross-landscape connectivity or facilitate broad-scale ecosystem functioning under projected climate change conditions.

HCTF Terms:

  • Conservation Plans

    Conservation plans set out priorities for conservation action and help coordinate actions from all levels of government, partners, funding bodies and others, and ensure that limited resources are allocated in a way that will yield the best conservation outcomes.

    Conservation planning and priority setting requires selection of both a geographic planning area (spatial aspect) and a reference condition (temporal aspect).

  • Appropriate temporal and spatial scales

    Spatial and temporal scales help to assess change in habitat or species condition. The type and extent of change, where it is occurring and potential impacts can be investigated along with the spatial extent being affected. The areas affected can range in scale from localized areas to specific locations to larger geographic areas.

Additional Opportunities

HCTF will consider investments in inventory and stock assessments that lead to conservation of habitat and/or inform sustainable use; conserving populations of at-risk species where underlying threats are being addressed through meaningful policies, strategies and management; and applied research having direct application in conservation and management

Context for Other Considerations:

These statements also provide a category for projects that may not fit perfectly into the strategic priority statements and yet have demonstrated conservation outcomes.

  • Inventory

    Inventory that contributes to monitoring and testing management or conservation outcomes (adaptive management cycle)

  • Meaningful

    Those policies, strategies and management actions that have a high liklihood of both effectiveness and implementation, and that directly address threats to populations or species.

  • Direct Application

    Research which has a high likelihood of helping to resolve known and pressing management problems.