Pattern Language, Pattern Map
(Note: This is what Language Deception looks like with all its tentacles.)
What does a sustainable society look like?
On this site, fifty-seven patterns provide a framework for an ecologically restorative, socially just, and reliably prosperous society. They are adaptable to local ecosystems and cultures, yet universal in their applicability. Together they form what we call a Conservation Economy.

Together, the patterns form a visual and conceptual framework that can be used to inspire innovation, focus planning efforts, and document emerging best practices. A conservation economy comprehensively integrates Social, Natural, and Economic Capital to demonstrate that a sustainable society is both desirable and achievable.

The conservation economy framework provides the basis for our wide range of Training and Consulting Services, helping businesses, governments, and non-profits make a just and viable transition to sustainability. In order to constantly test the ideas behind a conservation economy, we also host an international "open source" Learning Network which allows people to share their insights and experiences.

Ecotrust has developed this framework for a conservation economy throughout ten years of practical conservation work in the coastal temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. We believe that a conservation economy inherently serves the self-interest of individuals and communities, and we see our role as providing the tools for others working to grow it. Learn about the Roots of Our Work.
Look who's using The Patterns
The Bowen Island Forest and Water Management Society has used the Conservation Economy framework to create an interactive CD-ROM and website for sustainable community planning. Their work allows citizens to see maps, policy statements, relevant documents, and conservation economy patterns through the same advanced browser. Bowen Island, a small island north of Vancouver, BC, is in the process of becoming a new municipality. The island hopes to integrate sustainability into its initial operating charter.
The roots of our work
Tools for change
A conservation economy is in the self-interest of individuals and communities. Ecotrust provides tools and brokers resources for those taking a leadership role in the conservation economy.
Practical experience in our home bioregion
Ecotrust is an innovative non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the emergence of a conservation economy along North America's rain forest coast, the region from San Francisco to Anchorage. We work in urban and rural areas to support entrepreneurs whose work improves environmental, economic, and social conditions. We have spent the last ten years building a conservation economy in the coastal temperate rainforest stretching from Big Sur, California to Kodiak Island, Alaska. In this time, we have:

Co-founded an environmental bank, ShoreBank Pacific 

Redeveloped The Natural Capital Center as a landmark green building and incubator for businesses and non-profits

Cultivated local leadership and nurtured institutional capacity in communities throughout the bioregion

Mapped and analyzed the bioregion in fresh ways


Whole systems approach to sustainability


Ecotrust treats land, people, and economy as part of a whole system. Our work is compatible with the rigorous scientific framework of The Natural Step, but also embraces culture, planning and design, and a strong commitment to social justice. Simply put, we seek simultaneous ecological, social, and financial returns: the triple bottom line.


Pattern Language


On this site, Ecotrust seeks to distill its work in this bioregion into a series of explicit, testable, and replicatable patterns for growing a conservation economy. Together, these building blocks form a pattern language that can be used as a planning and management tool at all levels of scale, both in this bioregion and beyond. Pattern languages have been applied effectively to buildings, cities, and software for the last thirty years.

The Pattern Map offers a visual guide to the sustainability patterns that provide a frame-work for developing a Conservation Economy.

Also viewable at these URLs:


Explore the patterns of a conservation economy:


A Conservation Economy

Social Capital

Fundamental Needs

Subsistence Rights

Shelter For All


Access To Knowledge


Social Equity


Cultural Diversity

Cultural Preservation

Sense Of Place

Beauty And Play

Just Transitions

Civic Society

Natural Capital

Ecological Land-Use

Connected Wildlands

Core Reserves

Wildlife Corridors

Buffer Zones

Productive Rural Areas

Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable Forestry

Sustainable Fisheries


Compact Towns And Cities

Human-Scale Neighborhoods

Green Building

Transit Access

Ecological Infrastructure

Urban Growth Boundaries

Ecosystem Services

Watershed Services

Soil Services

Climate Services


Economic Capital

Household Economies

Green Business

Long-Term Profitability

Community Benefit

Green Procurement

Renewable Energy

Sustainable Materials Cycles

Resource Efficiency

Waste As Resource

Product As Service

Local Economies

Value-Added Production

Rural-Urban Linkages

Local Assets

Bioregional Economies

Fair Trade

True Cost Pricing

Product Labeling