Ecosystem mapping methods for British Columbia

  • Banner A
  • Meidinger D
  • Lea E
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Most resource professionals in British Columbia recognize the value of ecosystem classification in providing a conceptual framework and common language for organizing ecological information and management experience about ecosystems. Ecosystem mapping utilizes principles of ecosystem classification in order to provide a permanent record of the location and distribution of ecosystems. This spatial framework is often required for developing, applying, and monitoring landscape level and site-specific management prescriptions for many potential resource values. Over the past 20 years, several approaches to ecosystem mapping have been applied throughout the province. Standard procedures for provincial resource inventories and standards for medium and large scale ecosystem mapping (1:10 000 to 1:100 000 scales) have recently been proposed for the province. The proposed mapping approach combines elements of two classification systems currently in use in the province: ecoregion classification and biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification (BEC). Ecoregion and biogeoclimatic units stratify the landscape into broad physiographically and climatically uniform units. Within this broad framework, permanent landscape units are then delineated based on terrain features. Ecosystem units represent the lowest-level mapping individuals and are derived from the site series classification within BEC. Ecosystem units thus reflect moisture and nutrient regime and the climax vegetation potential of the site. Additional site modifiers are included to recognize variation in topography and soils within the site series. Structural stage and seral association modifiers are included to describe existing vegetation characteristics. The mapping methods present a core list of attributes required for basic resource interpretations, as well as additional attributes required for more specific interpretations.

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  • A. Banner

  • D. V. Meidinger

  • E. C. Lea

  • R. E. Maxwell

  • B. C. Von Sacken

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