Working within intricate ecosystems, salmon bestow gifts of life upon the forests. From head to roe, bears consume spawning salmon at a rate of two or three fish per meal, per day. Research shows that 90 percent of their pre-hibernation diets consist of salmon. If the feeding is scarce, bears won't produce as many young the following season. Salmon nutrients permeate the entire rainforest ecosystem: bears, wolves, martins, osprey, eagles, and other predators drag salmon inland; nutrients are scattered everywhere, from high atop forest conifers where eagles and osprey perch to the forest floor below. Even bear scat and urine, rich in salmon nutrients, nourish forest vegetation.

The surge of rich food provided by fall salmon runs allow the Great Bear Rainforest coast's dense population of grizzlies to survive winter hibernation. ŠIan McAllister
A grizzly bear searches the Koeye River estuary in the Great Bear Rainforest for carcasses of spawned-out salmon. ŠIan McAllister
High over the Chilkat River near Haines, Alaska, a bald eagle feasts on a salmon head. ŠNatalie Fobes
The gleam disappears from the eye of a chum salmon after it returns from the open Pacific to spawn and die in the small rainforest stream of its birth. The survival of its race will depend on the forest watershed retaining enough ecological integrity to purify, regulate and cool rearing waters. ŠIan McAllister
Even after death, the Pacific salmon continues to contribute to the rainforest ecosystem, reaching even to the mountaintops where the eagle carries the fish carcass to feed its young. ŠIan McAllister
The ancient temperate rainforest of British Columbia is a moss-draped, mist-shrouded forest built on ecological foundations that took 10,000 to 14,000 years to evolve--a unique combination of plants and animals that in turn migrated here from ecosystems as old as 70 million years. ŠIan McAllister
Few areas of the world can match the wildlife riches of Pooley Island, where Karen and Ian McAllister have watched wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, and a spirit bear feeding on the large pink salmon runs--all in the same day. ŠIan McAllister
The white spirit bear or Kermode bear is a genetically unique member of the black bear family. Spirit bears are only found on the north coast of British Columbia, with the largest concentrations occurring on Princess Royal Island and adjacent islands, as well as in some nearby mainland valleys. ŠIan McAllister
Many prominent sites along the northern coast, such as this area above scenic Lowe Inlet, are privately owned and can be logged without regulation. ŠIan McAllister
Old-growth spruce such as this multi-headed giant are much sought after by loggers for their strong, light wood, but play an irreplaceable role in the rainforest ecosystem. ŠIan McAllister