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Ecological (Biophysical) land classification: an analysis of methodologies Wiken, Edwin Bruce 1978

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ECOLOGICAL (BIOPHYSICAL) LAND CLASSIFICATION: AN ANALYSIS OF METHODOLOGIES by EDWIN BRUCE WIKEN Dip. Tech., British Columbia Institute of Technology, 1969 B.Sc, University of Bri t i s h Columbia, 1971 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF SOIL SCIENCE We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Apr i l , 1978 (c) Edwin Bruce Wiken, 1978 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C olumbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and study . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f ^0~L^ ^ < r * C 6 ^ » y > t ^ The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 - i i _ ABSTRACT Eco l o g i c a l land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n refers to an integrated survey i n which areas of land, as ecosystems, are c l a s s i f i e d according to t h e i r e c o l o g i c a l unity. In Canada, the approach was f i r s t advanced, n a t i o n a l l y , i n 1969 and was termed 'Bio-physical Land C l a s s i f i c a t i o n ' . This approach,which was derived from several foreign and domestic precedents, has been employed by various independent survey organizations throughout Canada to secure an e c o l o g i c a l data bases f o r resource planning and management consideration. Because coordination was lacking between these organizations, modifications of this approach have taken place independently and often have been weighted according to the investigator's personal i n t e r e s t s or c a p a b i l i t i e s . As such, the approach currently possesses a disparate character which i s d i f f i c u l t to define s i n g u l a r l y . To i d e n t i f y the current status in methodology, Canadian works i n this f i e l d were comparatively analyzed. One r e s u l t which stands out prominently from the analysis i s that there are multifarious forms of e c o l o g i c a l land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . While they tend to achieve the same r e s u l t s , and demonstrate numerous commonalities land ecosystems have been manifested by combinations of c r i t e r i a which are not always the same. Considerable confusion surrounds the nomenclature, the c r i t e r i a for d e f i n i t i o n s and the c r i t e r i a for recognition. Based on the analysis, h i e r a r c h i c a l categories eco-province, ecoregion, e c o d i s t r i c t , ecosection and ecotype are proposed. These are land ecosystems which possess a common recognized - i i i -i d e n t i t y based on a u n i f i e d pattern of b i o l o g i c a l and p h y s i c a l land c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . Each category coincides with a d i f f e r e n t order of ge n e r a l i z a t i o n . Based l a r g e l y on material extracted from past studies, c r i t e r i a f o r recognition are stated. - i v -Contents Page 1.00 INTRODUCTION 1 1.10 Definitions 2 2.00 BACKGROUND 5 2.10 Precedents from Foreign Countries 5 2.20 General Attributes of Land Ecosystems 6 (a) Location 8 (b) Pattern 9 (c) Durability 9 2.30 Canadian Precedents 10 2.40 Variotions of the Guidelines for Biophysical 12 Land C l a s s i f i c a t i o n 3.00 ECOLOGICAL LAND CLASSIFICATION 14 3.10 Rationale 14 3.20 Merits of Approach 14 3.30 Approaches to Ecological Land C l a s s i f i c a t i o n 18 3.40 Applications of Approach 19 4.00 BASIC STRUCTURE FOR STUDY 21 4.10 Parts of the Hierarchy 22 4.20 C r i t e r i a for Definition 25 4.30 Hierarchical Network 27 4.40 Qualifiers for Network 30 5.00 METHODS OF DETERMINING INDEX CATEGORIES 34 5.10 Ecoregion 34 5.20 Ecodistrict 43 5.30 Ecosection 53 5.40 Ecotype 57 6.00 METHODS OF APPLYING THE APPROACH 60 7.00 CONCLUSIONS 63 8.00 REFERENCES 72 - V -Tables Page Table 1 - Approaches to ecological land classification and their respective hierarchical categories. 7 Table 2 - Levels of generalization in biophysical land classification, 1969 12 Table 3 - Comparison of categories used or proposed in Canadian Hierarchical structures 24 Table 4 - Levels of generalization and their approximate 67 parallel with factors of recognition Figures Figure 1 - Ecological planning, representative 15 elements and relationships Figure 2 - Location of major studies in ecological 20 land classification Figure 3 - An example of vertical linkage of land 28 ecosystems Figure 4 - Hierarchical network of the ecological 31 land classification system Figure 5 - Location and level of generalizations) for 35 major ecological land classification studies Figure 6 - Comparison of ecoregions in Manitoba, 41 Ontario and Quebec Figure 7 - Three major forms of pattern in land ecosystems 49 Figure 8 - Ecodistricts of Boothia Peninsula 52 _ v i _ ACKNOWLEDGEMENT As i n most acknowledgements, i t i s an arduous task to properly i d e n t i f y a l l those who helped i n c u l t i v a t i n g the work which has eventuated. Responses to my i n q u i r i e s and questions which have been directed both within and outside of Canada have been generous. Les Lavkulich's broadmindedness has always been encouraging and accommodating but especialy so i n this research. Equally, he bore delays and inconveniences courteously. Other members of the graduate committee included Terry Lord, Charlie Rowles and Doug Lacate; as th i s review undoubtedly robbed them of l e i s u r e time, t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l e f f o r t s are appreciated accordingly. Association with the coterie of the Ecologi c a l Land C l a s s i f i c a t i o n D i v i s i o n has also nourished t h i s work. The challenging arguments, discussions and remarks of Dave Welch and Jean Thie have been thought provoking. Some challenges remain unsettled and await future go-rounds. E d i t o r i a l excursions through the text were unpretentiously taken by Gary Ironside and his horde of red pens. Typing p e r i l s such as r e v i s i o n s , additions and deletions were undertakings endured by Marg Poulin. While numerous professionals have contributed i n various ways, I am p a r t i c u l a r l y indebted for the assistance provided by: Gordon M i l l s and Charles Tarnocai of the Canada-Manitoba S o i l Survey; Angus H i l l s ; Michel Jurdant of Service des Etudes Ecologiques Regionales; Daniel Sauteur, Andre Savoie and Dave Day of Parks Canada; Wil Holland of the Northern Forest Research Centre; N e i l Van Waas of Alberta Energy & Natural Resources; and Stan Rowe of the University of Saskatchewan. - 1 -1. 00 INTRODUCTION Three decades of research and f i e l d operations by a host of p r a c t i t i o n e r s have produced considerable l i t e r a t u r e dealing with E c o l o g i c a l (Biophysical)"'" Land C l a s s i f i c a t i o n i n Canada. This l i t e r a t u r e contains valuable information which should be brought together. The primary reason i s the necessity to amass and synthesize t h i s information i n such a way that a l e s s fragmented and more comprehensive capsule of the 'state-of-the-art' can be presented. At present, the sporadic l o c a t i o n of. relevant l i t e r a t u r e , the absence of a natio n a l committee and the geographical i s o l a t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l s i n h i b i t information transfer and contribute to the presentation of d i s j o i n t e d glimpses of e c o l o g i c a l land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i n Canada. A second reason i s that the r e s u l t s d e t a i l e d i n e x i s t i n g works should be opened to wider scrutiny and probing. The current approach to e c o l o g i c a l land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i s not conclusive and can, as i t has i n the past, benefit from constructive comments. On the basis of these two reasons, t h i s report was i n i t i a t e d . The purpose of t h i s analysis i s to determine what has been uncovered by studies i n e c o l o g i c a l land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y with respect to methodologies, and to give an integrated p i c t u r e or overview of t h e i r r e s u l t s . In the preparation of t h i s report, the cataloguing of a l l appropriate studies has seemingly been a preoccupation to which c r i t i c a l assessment of a l l the material has taken second place. 1 The term 'biophysical' i s a holdover from e a r l i e r studies; i t i s being retained i n parentheses as an interim measure by the Canada Committee on E c o l o g i c a l (Biophysical) Land C l a s s i f i c a t i o n . In t h i s text, however, i t w i l l be deleted. - 2 -An attempt has been made to accurately represent the works of others but in some instances interpretation was necessary. In any case, every effort was made to cite appropriate references and credits. Where omissions are incurred, the material is so thoroughly internalized between various authors that the origins or proper credits are indistinct. Some work has already been made available in specific sectors related to ecological land classification. Deliberately, this text does not aim to cover those sectors and a l l their complexities as they tend to be lodged within the framework of particular disciplines other than that of land classification. As examples, i t does not address the developments which have taken place in pedology (Canada Soil Survey Committee, 1978) and geomorphology (ELUC Secretariat, 1976). In addition, there is no elaboration on the philosophical basis of ecological land classification as this i s also discussed in other works (Methodology/Philosophy Working Group, 1977). Instead, the scope is woven about a macro-perspective of the c r i t i c a l facets of ecological land classification in Canada. 1.10 Definitions Ecological land classification refers to an integrated approach to land survey in which areas of land, as ecosystems, are classified according to their ecological unity (Wiken and Ironside, 1977). Each tract of land has an independent identity with unique biological and physical characteristics that differentiate i t , as an ecosystem or combinations of ecosystems, separate from others. The meaning assigned here, however, is not without disorder. As the words used in the term are already entrenched in related literature, i t is d i f f i c u l t to - 3 -disassociate established precedents. Consequently, unless what is intended to be meant is specified, the context of this analysis of methodologies could remain disguised. Alone, the combined words 'land classification 1 have acquired a vague meaning. Much of this has been introduced by the cavalier style which has been permitted in several publications of international exposure. As a catchall label, what is meant by its use is awkward to distinguish as i t is tied up in a web of cross references. The FAO (1974) publication entitled "Approaches to Land Classification" is typical of many. Within i t s series of articles, the term 'land classification 1 is interchanged with a host of apparently equivalent terms including: land capability classification, land suitability classification, land use classification, land use capability classification, land evaluation, terrain evaluation, land inventory and land systems approach. Certainly, this apparent equivalency shrouds land classification with imprecision. For this report, land classification has been dethroned from part of its present diffuse use and substituted by the meaning proposed by the CCELC (Canada Committee on Ecological (Biophysical) Land Classification, 1977b): "land - a specified area of the earth's surface; i t s characteristics embrace a l l reasonably stable, cyclic or predictable attributes of the biosphere vertically above and below this area including those of the atmosphere, the s o i l and the underlying geology, the hydrology, the plant and animal populations and the land cover resulting from human activity to the extent that these attributes exert a significant incluence on the present and future uses of the land by man (after Beek and Bennema, 1976)". - 4 -" c l a s s i f i c a t i o n - the systematic act or method of arranging i n t o c l a s s e s ; grouping or c a t e g o r i z i n g according to a d e f i n i t e p lan or i n a d e f i n i t e sequence by assuming s t a t i c or dynamic r e l a t i o n s h i p s expressive of v a r i o u s phenomena ( a f t e r Webster, 1971)". The a d j e c t i v e ' e c o l o g i c a l ' placed before land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i s as c r i b e d to i n d i c a t e a f u r t h e r q u a l i t a t i v e d i s t i n c t i o n . Although the d e f i n i t i o n of land i m p l i e s the concept of an ecosystem, the word ' e c o l o g i c a l ' i s fused to q u a l i f y the term as a r e a l system, e i t h e r n a t u r a l or man-made. 'Ecosystem' i s a r e l a t i v e l y new word and i s g e n e r a l l y a t t r i b u t e d to Tansley's work i n 1935. This l a b e l , however, has only renewed the s i g n i f i c a n c e of a concept which had been employed p r e v i o u s l y by a v a r i e t y of d i s c i p l i n e s and sciences. For example, i n b i o l o g y , Mobius (1877) used i t i n h i s d i s c u s s i o n s of oyster beds, i n botany, Warming (1895) employed, i t : i n h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of p l a n t s o c i e t y ; i n limnology, Forbes (1887) a p p l i e d i t i n h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of microcosms i n l a k e s ; i n f o r e s t r y , Morosow (1928) used i t i n h i s account of f o r e s t types; e t c . . . In contemporary works, ecosystem remains a c o l l e c t i v e i d e n t i t y which has markedly d i f f u s e a p p l i c a t i o n . Many examples are a v a i l a b l e — p l a n t ecosystems, f o r e s t ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems, animal ecosystems, and land ecosystems. Even though i t would be d i f f i c u l t to draw a f i n e l i n e which would set these v a r y i n g kinds of ecosystems apart, there are s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s . A d i s t i n g u i s h i n g f e a t u r e of e c o l o g i c a l land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i s that the ecosystem i s c e n t r a l l y defined by c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the land. This d i s t i n c t i o n i s not c l e a r i n s e v e r a l reviews (Van Dyne, 1966; Major, 1969; Whyte, 1976) which d i s c u s s ecosystems or land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s . - 5 -2.00 BACKGROUND According to Weiss (1971), an ecosystem can be defined as: "a complex unit in space and time so constituted that its component subunits, by 'systematic' cooperation, preserve i t s integral configuration of structure and behaviour and tend to restore i t after non-destructive disturbances". The remaining part of this background chapter w i l l examine approaches which have implemented the concept of land ecosystem. It is based on the tempering which has occurred as a result of a century of theory and research and over a quarter of a century of operational practice. Both foreign and Canadian precedents are reviewed. This historical perspective is not provided to argue whether land is an ecosystem but rather to explore the basis upon which i t has been considered one. 2.10 Precedents From Foreign Countries The analogy between land and ecosystem is an old tradition in natural sciences. Although there is no precipitous beginning, many of the i n i t i a l foundations for general theory and practise were introduced in the late 19th century. Commonly, this vestige is traced back to i t s association with Russian works. In his 1898 doctrine of natural-historic zones, V.V. Dokuchaev (Isachenko, 1977) expounded upon the unity and shared characteristics displayed by independent and t e r r i t o r i a l l y bound parcels of land. As S.V. Kalesnik notes (1962), he "called for the study, not of individual bodies and natural phenomena, but of certain integral t e r r i t o r i a l aggregates of them". Dokuchaev was to have a profound influence on other Russians. Berg (Isachenko, 1976) was mainly responsible for developing analogous concepts and for carving - 6 -out the framework for the Soviet school of landscape science. In this, he elaborated on the nature of natural land systems, their hierarchical structure and their dynamic and successional tr a i t s . Similiar hallmarks (Table 1) were advanced in many parts of the world. English works like A.J. Herbertson's (1905) called for the study of 'natural regions' which he specified as being "definite areas of the surface of the earth considered as a whole ... the complex of land, water, a i r , plant, animal and man, regarded in their special relationships as together constituting a definite characteristic portion of the earth's surface". His subsequent contributions, in which he formulated a hierarchical structure, were summarized later by J.F. Unstead (1916, 1933). A series of analogues were to follow. In Russia, Berg (Gvozdetskiy, 1962) detailed 'landscape zones' in 1913 while similiar works related to 'landscape science' were developed by Passarge (Troll, 1971) in Germany. Veatch's (1930, 1934, 1937) research in Michigan outlined 'natural geographic divisions' and 'natural land types'. In surveys undertaken within the British Empire, Bourne (1931) derived his concepts of 'sites' and 'site regions'. Suckachev's (Sukachev and Dylis, 1964; Shvarts and Gorchakovskii, 1973) investigations into 'biogeocoenology' and Christian's and Stewart's (1957) studies of 'land systems' in Australia are further examples of works which began prior to any concerted national effort in Canada. 2.20 General Attributes of Land Ecosystems After reviewing the previously outlined works in ecological land classification, numerous commonalities concerning the perception of land ecosystems emerge. Land, as a natural system, was viewed h o l i s t i c a l l y . The parts which constitute land were interdependent and - 7 -IRef -erence Name ( gene ra l i z ed ) APPROXIMATE MAP SCALES ( d e t a i l e d ) -1:15,000,000 1:5,000,000 1:2,000,000 1:250,000 1:80,000 1-20 000 1-1 000 1:30,000,000 1:10,000,000 1:3,000,000 1:1,000,000 1:500,000 1:125,000 1-50 000 1:10,000 1:500 3. 5. 6. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. BIOPHYSICAL ( Eng l i s h ) BIOPHYSICAL (French) BIOPHYSICAL (B.C. ) HILLS CROWLEY CHRISTIAN & STEWART DOWNES & GIBBONS MEXE 872 MEXE 940 UN STB AD BELGIUM FRANCE ECOCLASS VEATCH SOVIET TROLL WORLD LIFE ZONE .LAND. ZONE •I- . LAND REGION .) LAND DISTRICT | LAND.. SYSTEM . LAND. TYPE .LAND.. PHASE 20NE ECOLOGIQUE ...REGION I DISTRICT... ECOLOGIQUE ' ECOLOGIQUE ..SYSTEM | TYPE ECOLOGIQUE ECOLOGIQUE ...PHASE ECOLOGIQUE BIOPHYSICAL.... I .BIOPHYSICALI BIOPHYSICAL COMPONENT. SYSTEM UNIT .LAND UNIT. COMPONENT 1 PHYSIOGRAPHIC ) .PHYSIOGRAPHIC. SITE TYPE ECO TYPE DOMAIN... I DIVISION. . .BIOPHYSICAL REGION • • • | ..SITE REGION | LAND UNIT . | ..PROVINCE | SECTION. . . . | DISTRICT | LOCALITY | LAND SYSTEM | LAND UNIT | LAND...) SITE TYPE .LAND ZONE | LAND SYSTEM | LAND UNIT | LAND COMPONENT •I- ....GEO ECOCATENA I GEO (.PHYSIOGRAPHIC. ECOSERE SITE PHASE .RECURRENT LANDSCAPE PATTERN | FACET | SUB I VARIANTS..*. FACET LOCAL FORMS .LAND... LAND... ZONE DIVISION • ••LAND I LAND i LAND SYSTEM [ LAND UNIT PROVINCE REGION ' .LAND COMPONENT. .REGION MINOR REGION. . SUBREGION. .TRACT. .STOW. ...DOMAINE L.SECTEUR I. ECOLOGIQUE ECOLOGIQUE ..DISTRICT | STATION.. ECOLOGIQUE ECOLOGIQUE | ZONE BIOGEOGRAPHIQUE. DIVISION.) PROVINCE I SECTION .) REGION L.SECTEUR I. ECOLOGIQUE ECOLOGIQUE ..SECTION... ECOLOGIQUE .UNITE PHYTO- I ECOLOGIQUE • I - .SUBSECTION. .LAND TYPE I LAND TYPE J..LAND J . .SITE ASSOCIATION 'TYPE PHASE .NATURAL LAND DIVISIONS | LAND REGION. UROCHISCHCHA 1 UROCHISCHE.. .MAJOR DIVISIONS. • | LAND TYPE \..MINOR UNIT. SUB UROCHISCHA .FACIES | TOPO-ECOLOGICAL. UNIT .. . LANDSHAFT MOSAIC | LANDSHAFT UNIT [. .LIFE ZONE f ASSOCIATION 1 . .LANDSHAFT ELEMENT. .SUCCESSIONAL STAGE OF. COVER TYPE References l&2-Subcom. on B i ophy s i ca l Land C l a s s . ,1969;Jurdant,1 969 / 3-B.C. For. Land C l a s s . Subcom. ,1968 / 4 - H i l l s , 1 9 6 1 / 5-Personal Communication /H7fc 6 - C h r i s t i a n , 1 9 5 7 ; C h r i s t i a n and Stewart,1968 / 7-Howard,1970 / 8 -Becket t and Webster,1965 / 9-Br ink et a1_,1966 / 10-Herbertson,1905; Unstead, 1933 / 11-Delvaux and Galoux,1 962 / I 2-Long , 1 968 / 13 -But te ry et a]_,1973 / 14-Veatch, 1930;Veatch, 1934 / 15-Yefremov,1961;Vinogradov,1962 / 16-Trol1,1971 / 17-Holdr idge and Tosi,1972 Table 1: Approaches to ecological land classification and their respective hierarchical categories - 8 -i n t e r r e l a t e d , and contributed to the creation of the i d e n t i t y of land as an ecosystem. Each ecosystem tended to possess a population with c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s s u f f i c i e n t l y d i f f e r e n t to enable the establishment of some natural boundary. The population, however, was not necessarily homogenous. More c o r r e c t l y , the ecosystem maintains unity and conservation of pattern as a res u l t of t h e i r compositional parts and i t s interactions among other ecosystems as well as within i t s e l f . Much of this bears resemblance to the Organismic Model. This perspective suggests that land changes and adapts through 'natural s e l e c t i o n ' to meet functional requirements, and that land evolves appropriate structures through 'sur v i v a l of the f i t t e s t ' . From these same sources, i t i s also possible to extract the universal elements which land ecosystems must possess, including location,pattern and d u r a b i l i t y are included, (a) Location A land ecosystem requires that i t s component parts have commonality of l o c a t i o n . Through interactions on a common l o c a l e , many of the constituent parts form cohesive networks. The boundary of these i s l a n d - l i k e l o c a l i t i e s i s determined where differences i n parts or interactions are more s i g n i f i c a n t than s i m i l a r i t i e s . Consequently, i t i s apparent that l o c a l i t i e s may not necessarily be mutually exclusive. Some parts or interactions can, instead, be simultaneously shared between given l o c a l i t i e s . This i s most evident where l o c a l i t i e s are contiguous and/or coexisting. Depending on the variant population c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s between adjacent l o c a l i t i e s , the separation interface may be abrupt or a gradual - 9 -continuum. (b) Pattern Ecological land classification, like other natural sciences, shares the assumption that there is order in nature and that i t can de discovered, described and understood. Order is demonstrated through sustained patterns. At a l l levels in perceived hierarchies, a combination of differing types of pattern have been employed. These patterns have included those of static structure, dynamic equilibrium, chronological events or sequences, compositional parts, spatial relationships and behaviour and response. Typically, patterns demonstrate varying degrees of order. Under these circumstances, i t would be incorrect to construe that a pattern is always a synonym for homogeneity. It is preferable to refer to pattern as the unity and conservation of parts and interactions which are displayed within a given locality. The continuity of the pattern, like a l l normalized variant populations, tends to degrade towards peripheral limits. (c) Durability Land ecosystems are not static entities. They change continuously over time. A description of any particular land ecosystem on the earth's surface would likely produce a different make-up at varying historical moments. Despite constant change, however, a substantial amount of stability and constancy in pattern can be recognized. This persistence, involving relatively sustained ties of interaction among i t s component parts, is manifested by states of dynamic equilibrium. Barring major shifts in the parts or interactions, the pattern associated with a locality w i l l remain intact in human experience. - 10 -2.30 Canadian Precedents In comparison to many other countries, Canada's involvement in ecological land classification has been recent. International benchmarks were a l s o established in Australia (Christian, 1957), England (Beckett and Webster, 1965) and Russia (Sukachev an Dylis, 1964) and were already collectively tempered by experience. This forged the impetus to which the Canadian approaches would subscribe. A specific date or piece of work from which a Canadian approach crystal-; lized is d i f f i c u l t to designate. In the formative stages of the 1950's and 1940's, Hills's contributions had a substantial impact. His i n i t i a l works (H i l l s , 1950) referred to 'basic s o i l sites' as an integration of a l l other site factors. Later, in a series of articles ( H i l l s , 1952, 1953, 1961; Glackmeyer Subcom., 1960), he detailed a land classification scheme reminiscent of Veatch's efforts. Hills's contributions plus those from international sources aided in the formulation of a more commonly quoted reference — the Guidelines for Biophysical Land Classification (Subcom. on Bio-phy. Land Class., 1969). When these guidelines were formulated, Canadian resource personnel were working on the i n i t i a l phases of the Canada Land Inventory (CLI, 1970), an interpretive inventory providing land capability ratings for agriculture, forestry, wildlife sports fish and recreation. For much of Canada, the basic environmental data from which these interpretations were generated was either absent or only partially completed. To provide the data which was missing, a rapid and inexpensive approach to land survey was sought. In 1964, the National Committee on Forest Land (NFL) established the Subcommittee on Bio-physical Land Classification to explore possible . alternatives. This interdisciplinary subcommittee of largely federal and provincial representatives held meetings, conducted workshops, carried-out pilot projects and capitalized on existing regional ( H i l l s , 1961) and international benchmarks. As a consequence, an approach was derived and guidelines were published (Subcommittee on Bio-physical Land Classification, 1969). This document outlined a means to 'differentiate and classify ecologically-significant segments of the land surface' as manifested by their inherent biological and physical characteristics. As documented in 1969, the guidelines proposed a hierarchy of generalizations (Table 2). This approach was to rely heavily on airphoto interpretation combined with supportive ground truthing. - 12 -Levels of Generalization  Practical Mapping Scales Definitions Land region 1: 1,000,000 to 1: 3,000,000 An area of land characterized by a distinctive regional climate, as expressed by vegetation. Land d i s t r i c t 1: 500,000 to 1: 1,000,000 An area of land characterized by a distinctive pattern of r e l i e f , geology, geomorphology Land system 1: 125,000 to 1:250,000 An area of land through which there is a recurring pattern of landforms, soils, and vegetation. Land type 1: 10,000 to 1: 20,000 An area of land on a particular pa-rent material having a f a i r l y homogeneous combination of s o i l and chrono-sequence of vegetation. Table 2: Levels of generalization in ecological land classification, 1969 (Subcom. on Bio-phy. Land Class., 1969). 2.40 Variation of the Guidelines for Biophysical Land Classificaiton While the published guidelines were to serve as a general frame-work, the approach was not considered conclusive. Instead, i t was ex-pected to be developed and to be modified through continued application and testing. Unfortunately, the NCFL and its associated subcommittee were disbanded in 1972. The consequence was that the agencies, which pursued this approach, found restricted forums in which ideas could be exchanged and specific modifications or developments could be discussed. - 13 -Most of the variations from the proposed 1969 guidelines have surfaced owing to the differences under which operational surveys have been conducted since the i n i t i a l guidelines were published in 1969. Because these differences have varied substantially between agencies, the individual efforts of modifying have frequently been weighted in certain directions. In addition, their efforts have not always been parallelled or synchronized with those produced by other agencies. When coupled with restricted forums, i t is understandable then that agencies were not a l l attuned to what specific changes had taken place. Under these circumstances, the basis for methodological development tended to progress in a regional context rather than a national one. As a result, ecological land classification as practised in Canada possessed a very diffused character because the cumulative advances which had been made were d i f f i c u l t to define as a unit. This diffusion and the respective disparities in changes between agencies were markedly disclosed at the f i r s t meeting of the Canada Committee On Ecological Land Classification (CCELC, 1976a). The remaining parts of this text have been used to amass, and to analyze the changes which have been initiated in relation to methodology. It is a macro portrait of what is collectively and currently thought to be methodology of ecological land classification. The focus is on the methods of determining levels of generalization and of applying the framework. - 14 -3.00 ECOLOGICAL LAND CLASSIFICATION 3.10 Rationale The rationale for ecological land classification has arisen from concerns in the area of land use planning, in specific the ecological planning process. The representative elements and relationships are shown in Figure 1. The underlying concepts of this process have been explained by May (1973, p. 3). She states: "the basic concept of ecological land use planning is that land consists of a highly differentiated series of ecosystems which respond very differently to similar actions occurring in them. Man in his activities tends to treat ecosystems or land as an undifferentiated resource; he tends to differentiate among his actions affecting land only insofar as these actions directly affect the human system. If man based his actions on an understanding of the ecosystems with which he was interacting, he could: (1) reduce development costs; (2) create a more pleasing development; and (3) create one which would have fewer deleterious repercussions". The chief purpose of ecological land classification i s , then, to acquire baseline data and information from which ecological planning can be launched and the impacts of various developments can be evaluated. 3.20 Merits of Approach The merits of ecological land classification rest back on i t s integrated approach to data collection and evaluation; and i t s use of aerial photography to assist in the location and cartographic expression of land ecosystems. Measures of efficiency and effectiveness are realized. Efficiency is measured by the amount of resources used to produce a unit of output (Etzioni, 1964). An integrated method has numerous advantages over interpretive surveys or a comparable number of single disciplinary - 15 -< Bi < X. u O z < < u >-X < u O O |_ _ _ _ -PREPARATION OF ECOLOGICAL DATA BASE _ _ _ ) _ _ h DATA COLLECTION H FORMAT h -INFORMATION h - - EVALUATIONS USE OF ECOLOGICAL DATA BASE - - -- 1 |— DERIVATION OF PLAN (S) - H HMPLEMENTATIONH I I z < < s -L _L ALTERNATIVE PLANS FORMULATED EXECUTION OF PLAN E C O L O G I C A L P L A N N I N G (Representative elements and relationships) Figure 1: Ecological planning, representative elenieats and relationships. - 16 -studies. The time and money spent are significantly less as this approach curtails overlap and duplication in transportation, f i e l d work, support staff and material production. The basic data required by several disciplines often emanates from a rather limited number of common source documents. Thus, the knowledge obtained in the course or routine of one discipline's work may be used to complement or support the needs of another. For example, the data secured about vegetation can be used by the pedologist, the wildlife biologist and the climatologist in determining the interrelationships and parameters of their own f i e l d . By capitalizing on mutual interest, common data require-ments can be melded together and repeated efforts from one discipline to another can be eliminated. In respect to the use of aerial photography, Vink (1963), has shown that with the s o i l input of ecological land classification alone, considerable savings can be introduced. While these monetary benefits are accrued more so with smaller scales (smaller than 1:25,000) of mapping, he states: "using air photo interpretations, i t is possible to reduce the amount of f i e l d work for locating the boundaries to about 10%. This means that the total observations are reduced to about 30% of the f i e l d observations normally made at least in very many cases the efficiency of the s o i l survey using air photo interpretation is about 3 times as high as that of the traditional s o i l survey". Traditional is used in the sense of s o i l surveys which do not use aerial photography. In contrast to efficiency, the effectiveness of this approach is determined by the degree to which i t realizes i t s goals of both characterizing land ecosystems and supporting the ecological planning process. The interconnections between the components of land ecosystems are not always apparent. What are thought to be entities in themselves, are commonly connected and share concordant boundaries. A prime example is the coincidence of soil-landform units in several s o i l survey reports of British Columbia (Valentine, 1971; Runka, 1972; and Cotic, 1974). Through the advocated multidisciplinary or integrated team, the proliferation of non-concordant boundaries are minimized. Further, this team approach promotes the cross f e r t i l i z a t i o n and exchange of ideas. Christian and Stewart (1968). note: "When a number of specialists are working together in the same area with a comon objective, there is opportunity for and stimulus to the exchange of on-the-spot information, which is often of considerable scientific as well as practical value. This can be significant in calling the attention of a specialist in one f i e l d to variations which are not consistent with those in another and which therefore require explanation, thereby leading to further investigation and perhaps the adoption or development of systems of description or classification which are more comparable and more meaningful in the local circumstance". To be appropriate for planning a c t i v i t i e s , the results of a survey must be versatile. They must be capable of evaluating current or expected land uses practises by identifying: the thresholds and limits of land ecosystems, the range of management strategies available, the environmental impact of proposals by indicating the degree of compatibility with the land ecosystem, - 18 -the significance of new technologies, the low risk alternatives, the opportunities for renovation and sequential land occupation, etc.. To meet these embracing types of evaluations calls for an equally holistic view of the natural environment. The broad descriptive data base of the ecological land classification approach is consonant with this requirement. Also, the emphasis of documenting the more stable land characteristics maintains the data base's u t i l i t y in the long term. Finally, this approach is effective in that data and information are assembled and stored in central locations. This central data base holds a l l the relevant material about land ecosystems for a particular area in one master f i l e . Normally, these f i l e s are subdivided into the major information or data subsets. Consequently, material related to particular environmental components such as soils, vegetation, hydrology and geomorphology can s t i l l be retrieved on an individual basis. For users, the central data base means convenience. The procurement of relevant material is not undermined by not having one readily accessible and available source. 3.30 Approaches to Ecological Land Classification In accordance with the members of the Canada Committee on Ecological Land Classification, the term 'ecological land classification' is the prescribed banner to designate biophysical or related approaches ecological land surveys (Wiken and Ironside, 1977). Several forms exist. While these display commonalities, there is no single package to this approach which is universally accepted throughout Canada. The general agreement with the underlying concepts, however, has been given unofficial approval through i t s wide application. - 19 -3.40 Applications of Approach Approximately 60 studies have been conducted or are under way in Canada. The majority of these ecological land classification studies (Figure 1) completed to date have been generally restricted to large areas and non-cultural landscapes. Invariably, environmental baseline information has been incomplete or lacking in these areas. The total area surveyed 2 approximates 5,600,000 km . The James Bay survey, in support of hydro-electric development, is the 2 most intensive study and covers over 350,000 km (Jurdant et a l , 1977). 2 The Saguenay-Lac St-Jean (25,900 km ) and the Laurentian Park (15,500 2 km ) studies are further examples of surveys which have been conducted by the Service des Etudes Ecologiques Regionales (SEER) group. While several authors feel that their work best exemplifies the approach, many other agencies have produced similar material. The Canada-Manitoba Soil Survey (Mills, 1977) have conducted a f i e l d survey of some 85,000 km , and the Alberta Land Use Assignment Committee has performed surveys In numerous special study areas within the Province. The Canadian Forestry Service is another agency which has conducted large area surveys. The Yukon (Oswald and Senyk, 1977) and Mackenzie Valley (Zoltai and Pettapiece, 1973) reports are examples. In contrast and not illustrated in Figure 2, there are many examples of small area studies. They have ranged in size from a few square kilometers in specific national parks (Le Sauteur, 1976 personal communi-2 cations) to 60 km areas for particular housing developments (Dorney, 1977). Besides ranging in size, this approach has been applied in a variety of natural settings. The natural environments have spanned those of glacial and nonglacial origin as well as those of varying vegetation, climate and physiography. Included are the boreal and arctic zones of the Canadian -20-1. Labrador 9 Alberta Lands D i r e c t o r a t e , A t l a n t i c Region Land Use Assignment Committee 2. Saguenay-Lac St. Jean 10. Mackenzie Valley Ser.Des Etudes Ecologiques Regionales Indian A f f a i r s and Northern Dev. 3. James Bay 11. Yukon Ser. Des Etudes Ecologiques Regionales Canadian Forest Sermice 4. Ontario 12. Boothia Peninsula Ontario Land Inventory Canada S o i l Survey 5. Southern Ontario 13. Auyuittuq Ontario Land Inventory Parks Canada 6. Northern Manitoba Id. A r c t i c Islands Canada- Manitoba S o i l Survey Canadian Forest Service 7. Manitoba 15. B r i t i s h Columbia Canada- Manitoba S o i l Survey University of B.C. 8. Saskatchewan Canada Land Inventory Figure 2: Location of major studies in ecolo g i c a l land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . - 21 -Shield, the Temperate forests of the Cordilleran Region and the Forest-grasslands of the Interior Plains. An additional aspect of application relates to the levels of generalizations. A l l levels are not commonly used in a land survey. It is more typical to employ a selected few which match the purpose of the survey. When overviews have been required as in the Yukon (Oswald and Senyk, 1977) and the Mackenzie Valley (Zoltai and Pettapiece), only broad levels of generalization (ie. respectively ecoregion and land, region) were required. These examples represent one extreme. Though there are surveys in between which demonstrate various combinations of levels, the James Bay project (Jurdant et a l , 1977) is an example of the other extreme, where a f u l l spectrum of levels have been implemented. Certainly, the application of this approach has varied. These variations have been instrumental in providing the avenues for testing and developing the structure for study. 4.00 BASIC STRUCTURE FOR STUDY Even though practitioners of ecological land classification have not yet achieved consensus on a totally uniform approach, they have generally agreed on the basic structure for study a hierarchy of ecological generalizations. Its use has been widely acknowledged (Jurdant et a l , 1975; Gimbarzevsky, 1975, 1977; Boyacioglu, 1975, 1977; Kumar, 1976, 1977; Cameron, 1977; Van Wass, 1977a, 1977b; Tarnocai and Netterville, 1977; Mills, 1977; Oswald and Senyk, 1977; and H i l l s 1977). A structure is formed with the intention and design of accomplishing particular objectives. One of the primary objectives has been stated by Jurdant et^  al (1975) as being "to describe and characterize the biological and physical features of the land and to organize knowledge". Thus with a - 22 -hierarchical structure, a wide variety of survey mapping scales and land use planning needs could be accommodated. On an international basis, these points are equally accepted by several authors (Wertz and Arnold, 1975 and Thomas, 1976). While a hierarchical structure appears to be the binding element in the Canadian approach, i t s exact nature is infirm. There is no single, clear or unequivocal description of either the parts of the hierarchy or the network which bonds these parts together. 4.10 Parts of the Hierarchy The notion that the earth's surface is comprised of a patchwork of land areas possessing inherently different characteristics has a long history. Major (1969), for example, asserts that this idea has been intuitively conveyed by words in our everyday language. Though his discussion draws upon words of international flavour, many examples specific to the Canadian context can be designated. They would range from complex and broad areas designations like 'tundra', 'prairie grasslands' and 'boreal forest' through to less complex and smaller area designations like 'bottomland', 'tidal Marsh' and 'river Terrace'. These words represent generalizations which have been derived primarily on the basis of the continuity of external land characteristics discerned, such as the associated vegetation, topography, soils and climate. When generalizations like these are compartmentalized and ranked with greater scientific precision, the parts or categories of the hierarchy are formed. This provides a matrix to comparatively index land ecosystems relative to each other. The literature review has revealed that the ecological land c l a s s i f i -cation approach has recognized at least 6 categories. Table 3 l i s t s the categories that have been used or proposed in hierarchical structures. This table illustrates that a heterogeneous collection of terms exists for equivalent categories and that a preference for particular terms occurs with individual survey agencies. Since there is no common agreement on preferred usage at this time, a number of terms have been chosen to serve as anchors for further discussion in this text. Starting with the most general category and descending in detail, these are: ECOPROVINCE, ECOREGION, ECODISTRICT, ECOSECTION, ECOTYPE and ECOPHASE. Before discussing the associated definitions for the categories, the conflicts of opinion which arise over specific terms warrant some attention. In several of the categories of Table 3, the names for a similar category differ. For instance, a 'land system' versus an 'ecoarea' and a 'land region' versus a 'site region'. Whether these names accurately describe what is meant is largely a matter of personal habits in semantics. As the educational background and experiences of practitioners of ecological land classification differ substantially, i t is not surprising that the same word can be interpreted in different ways. Many of the opinions related to the correctness of use stem from academic conventions. Regionalisations of the earth's surface have been professed by many sciences including ecology, soils and climatology (Mitchell 1973). Those who adhere to the school of regionalism believe that each category should be considered a region (ie. ecodistrict region, ecosection region, ecotype region, ecophase region). The approach taken by Crowley (1977a) and his students (Carlson and Mahoney, 1971 and Chesbro e_t a l , 1973) is exemplary. If the doctrine of typology is followed, others believe that each category constitutes a type; whereas i f systems orientation is pursued, s t i l l others affirm that each category represents a system. On the other hand, the term bipgeocoenose would apply to a l l categorical units provided that the P r i n c i p a l User | ECOPHASE ECOTYPE ECOSECTION 1 ECODISTRICT ECOREGION -1 ECOPROVINCE 1 Reference Names 1- Canada-Manltoba S o i l Survey 2- Alberta Energy and Natural Resources 3- Parks Canada A-Canadian Forest Service Land Phase Land Type Land System Land District | Land I Region Land Zone 5- Service des Etudes Ecologiques Regionale 6- Parks Canada Phases Ecologiques Types Ecologiques Systemes Ecologiques Districts Ecologiques Regions Ecologiques Zones Ecologiques CATEGORIES WITHIN THE HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURES 7-Canada S o i l Survey Ecoarea Ecodistrict Ecoregion CATEGORIES WITHIN THE HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURES 8-Canadian Forest Service Land System Biophysical Map Unit Vegetation-Soil District Bioclimatic Zone Bioclimatic Subzone CATEGORIES WITHIN THE HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURES 9-0ntario Land Inventory Site Phase Land Type Physiogra-phic Site Types Landscape Unit Site District Site Region CATEGORIES WITHIN THE HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURES 10-Geological Survey of Canada 1 Terrain Units Geobotanical Facies Landscape Type CATEGORIES WITHIN THE HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURES 11-Canadian W i l d l i f e Service Land Facet CATEGORIES WITHIN THE HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURES j 12-British Columbia Land Inventory Bio-physical Component Bio-physical Unit Bio-physical System Bio-physical Region CATEGORIES WITHIN THE HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURES - VZ - 25 -fundamentals of biogeocoenology (Sukachev and Dylis, 1964) were accepted. In the case where geological principles are emphasized, the concept of the facies as a geographic individuum (Prokayev, 1962) is offered. When botany is associated, the convention of geobotanical facies is adopted (Barnett ej: al_, 1977). Obviously, the attitude of 'one-thing-one-label' does not prevail even though what the word intends to describe is roughly the same. These contentions are not li k e l y to dissolve. Despite the rivalries which are generated by academic p a r t i a l i t i e s , most practitioners regard these categories as an adequate index for the ranking and clustering of generalized land ecosystems. 4.20 Criteria for Definition Definitions for each of the categories in the hierarchy are currently under review by the Canada Committee on Ecological Land Classificaition (CCELC, 1977b). While the definitions offered here have not yet been accepted nationally, they are the ones which have found the greatest currency in the past. Beginning with the ECOPROVINCE, there has never been any definition documentedin Canada. The size of this land ecosystem is large and would lik e l y be mapped at scales between 1:5 million or 1:10 million. It would probably correspond to structural, geomorphic or sometimes lithological units as does the 'Land Province' of the Oxford-MEXE system of terrain classification (Lawrance, 1972). The second most general level is the ECOREGION, an area of land characterized by a distinctive regional climate as expressed by vegetation. It may be mapped at scales between 1:1,000,000 and 1:3,000,000. Of increasing detail, the ECODISTRICT is an area of land characterized by a distinctive pattern of r e l i e f , geology, geomorphology and associated regional vegetation. EC0DISTRICTS appear to be essentially - 26 -physiographic units. An appropriate mapping scale for this unit would be 1:500,000 to 1:1,000,000. ECOSECTIONS follow. They are defined as an area of land for which there is a recurring pattern of landforms, soils, vegetation chronosequences and water bodies. ECOSECTIONS are commonly recognized at mapping scales of 1:125,000 to 1:250,000. An area of land having a f a i r l y homogenous combination of s o i l (eg. s o i l series) and vegetation chronosequence is called an EC0TYPE. These can be cartographically depicted at mapping scales of 1:10,000 to 1:20,000. The most detailed unit is the ECOPHASE, an area having homogenous combination of s o i l and stage of vegetation succession at the time of survey. Mapping is typically at scales of 1:10,000 or greater. Alternative definitions for these categories have been put forward. For the ecoregion, Tarnocai and Boydel (1975) proposed that i t "represents similarities of climate as determined by vegetation, soils and, to some degree, the permafrost condition, which then produce specific ecosystems on material having similar properties"; likewise, Mills (1977) proposed that i t , or the variously termed land region, is a broad region of uniform climate "identified not only on the basis of vegetation, but also on trends in s o i l development and permafrost features". After examining the content of alternatives like these as well as the more commonly quoted definitions, a question is raised as to whether or not they indeed meet the criteria for definitions. Definitive characteristics must be conculsive and be equally applicable to a l l occurrences of a unit (Beckett and Webster, 1965). In contrast, characteristics of recognition are not so restrictive and may vary with individual units. For example, a moraine is defined by the American Geological Institute (1962) as being " d r i f t , deposited chiefly by direct glacial action, and having constructional topography independent of control by the surface on which the d r i f t l i e s " . It could, however, be recognized by examining factors such as the nature of the sediments or associated landforms. As these factors could vary from one setting to another, the cr i t e r i a for recognition may not be invariably present. With the alternatives for the ecoregion, certainly characteristics such as permafrost are recognition cr i t e r i a which are specific to particular natural environments. So long as recognition c r i t e r i a and not definitional c r i t e r i a are included in what are supposedly definitions, then the wording wi l l in a l l probability continue to oscillate according to the natural environment in which the land survey was conducted. Greater amplification of this schism w i l l be present in the section which follows the discussion of the hierarchical network. .30 Hierarchical Network After categories are selected, there is a tendency to view them as being mutually exclusive entities (Condon, 1975). Novikoff (1945) points out that natural phenomena, "while distinct, are not completely delimited from each other". Because land ecosystems are natural entities, the hierarchical network cannot consist of independent categories such as management positions, a business firm or a social grouping of a caste. Instead, the hierarchical network in ecological land classification is coalescent. It grades land ecosystems according to a vertical and horizontal continuum. The basis for differentiation is usually determined by the kinds and the degrees of unity discerned in respect to the biological and physical land characteristics. The horizontal differentiation allows the separation of units of similar rank. The horizontal scale contains units which exhibit forms of ecological relatedness not manifested by units belonging to other horizontal scales. For the horizontal scale which corresponds to ecotypes, for example, the - 28 -e c o l o g i c a l unity could be expressed the p a r t i c u l a r s o i l s e r i e s , plant community, micro climate and landform c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which each unit possesses. If a more general and complex horizontal scale were chosen such as the ecosection l e v e l , then the e c o l o g i c a l unity could be expressed by more abstract unit c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s such as a s o i l a ssociation, a plant association, a meso climate and a landform. The v e r t i c a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n allows units of d i f f e r e n t horizontal scales to coalesce. This linkage depends on the thread of commonalities i n land c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . As land ecosystems become more general, the number of shared c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , and consequently the o v e r a l l unity of the system, would comparatively decrease. Figure 3 i s i l l u s t r a t i v e . The units are given a b r i e f description but i t i s i m p l i c i t that these descriptors alone are i n d i c a t o r s of more embracing parameters. - drumlin f i e l d - meso climate X - Barrett-Moxley s o i l a ssociation - White spruce-sphagnum plant association ECOSECTION A ECOTYPE A' ECOTYPE A" - drumlin swale - micro climate X' - Barrett s o i l series - white spruce-pinegrass - drumlin sag - micro climate X" - Moxley s o i l series - sphagnum-black spruce plant community moss plant community Figure 3: An example of v e r t i c a l linkage of land ecosystems. - 29 -Such a point can be drawn with the s o i l s . The names are associated with a particular taxon. This in turn is evidence of the specific processes and variables of s o i l forming factors: climate, biota, parent material, relief and time. With transposition of factors, Krajina (1965) acknowledges that vegetation can also be proven to be a factorial product. A generalized diagram of the hierarchical network of ecological land classification is outlined in Figure 4. Only the five levels which have been commonly employed in land surveys are shown. The ecophase is the level of generalization requiring the most detail. However, these units are not the primary or basic building block of the hierarchical network as they merely denote an ephemeral or passing state of an ecotype unit. Ascending from the primary units, the ecotypes, the land ecosystems associated with each succeeding level (ie. ecosection, ecodistrict and ecoregion) become increasingly complex, inclusive, general and large. The crosshatched areas of the triangles are intended to show that differentiation of units is not a mutually exclusive process. This overlap of shared characteristics provides the 'linking pins' which both melds related land ecosystems on similar horizontal scales and connects related land ecosystems on different horizontal scales. As Figure 3 illustrates, the vertical linkage of units is not necessarily binary. The flow through vertical scale may involve two or more units. The direction of the flow is often debated. If Aristotelian logic is pursued, then there is either the analytic (division from above) or the synthetic (aggregation from below) approach (Grigg, 1965). If the most generalized land ecosystem is discerned f i r s t and i f the more detailed levels are arrived at by progressive disaggregation of i t , the flow is said to undergo the analytical route. The synthetic approach is the opposite, a - 30 -route wherein the most detailed land ecosystems are identified f i r s t and their progressive aggregation leads to the more generalized units. In some cases, the logic is valid and appropriate. From the practical standpoint, however, the dichotomy is too rigid and unnecessarily limiting. 4.40 Qualifiers For Network "Main biophysical mapping units, arranged in a hierarchical order (Gimbarzevsky, 1977)", "hierarchies of taxonomic site units ( H i l l s , 1977)", "classification hierarchy (Thie, 1977)", "a hierarchy of classification units (Mills, 1977)" and "hierarchical levels of generalization (Holland, 1977)" are quotes used by various authors in qualifying the hierarchical network. If the innuendos in the literature are extracted then the l i s t of qualifiers would expand to hierarchical levels of perception, complexity, integration and spatiality. With such seemingly contradictory statements, what is meant is unclear and shrouded by multiple and inconsistent qualifiers. To the uninitiated, this is especially true. Ironically, a valid case for each qualifier of the hierarchical network can be presented. Verifying the network as a mapping hierarchy is attested by i t s cartographic usage. Each category in the hierarchy has been used as a mapping unit. These individual units are either given a specific geographical name (ie. the northern mountains ecoregion, the Dogskin lake ecodistrict) or coded by alphabetical or numerical codes, alone or in combination. Like biological classification scheme, the hierarchical arrangement could be viewed as taxonomic. The respective categories would correspond to 'pigeon-holes' such as kingdom, subkingdom, phylum and subphylum. Because the identification of the f u l l range of land ecosystems is s t i l l in a stage of infancy, what can be achieved in biology cannot necessarily be paralled in ecological land classification. In biology, once the phylum is estabished, the higher levels subkingdom and kingdom are Figure 4: H i e r a r c h i c a l network of e c o l o g i c a l land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . \ - 32 -automatically known. Drawing this parallel with land ecosystems may not be workable owing to the incomplete state of knowledge and lack of coordination. As there is considerable controversy concerning the relationship between a map unit and a taxonomic unit, some ellaboration is warranted. The basic rationale for taxonomy is rooted in the biological sciences. Taxa provide for the orderly arrangement of organisms based on groupings which have related characteristics, especially phylogenetic. Each taxon assigned is an attempt to account for the constancy of phylogenetic characteristics demonstrated by a recognizable population of plants or animals. The constancy of a population is determined by analyzing whether their inherent characteristics conform to a normal distribution. Consequently, a taxonomic grouping has members which are typical plus others which are to varying degrees atypical of or deviations from the norm. Since natural phenomena other than organisms also lend themselves to taxonomy, the concept has been adopted elsewhere. There are, for example, several s o i l and land classification schemes which contain taxonomic arrangements. In these schemes, a taxonomic unit differs from a map unit in that various taxa are conceptually viewed as discrete entities. Map units, on the otherhand, depict actual single or, because of cartographic constraints, combinational units of taxa. Within the map unit, the atypical members of the taxon are usually termed 'associates' or 'subdominants' i f their taxon is known, or 'inclusions' i f their taxon is either unknown or highly variable. Because s o i l and land ecosystem taxa correspond to open system phenomena, the latitude for deviations or atypical members involves, of course, a variable range. Much of this variation is related to the composition and formation of the natural body in question. - 33 -A cursory examination of land ecosystem descriptions in ascending hierarchical order would endorse the notion that categories become increasingly complex and general. The Gros Morne report by Airphoto Analysis Associates (1975) affirms this by stating "the resulting constitutes a hierarchical system in which the higher levels are characterized by multifarious and general c r i t e r i a , and the lower levels by more specific c r i t e r i a " . By the same overview, i t is apparent that each new category in the hierarchical ascent aggregates spatial complexes from lower levels the degree of integration among members lessenswith increasing aggregation of units. Spatial hierarchies are normally intimated by the area summaries for vertically associated categories or by minimum and mean area calculations for mapping units. Examples can be extracted from reports (Jurdant ejt a l , 1977 and Gauthier, Poulin, Theriault Ltd., 1977). These same reports discuss, respectively, the hierarchy from the perspective of "cinq niveaux de perception ecologique" and mapping units at various levels of perception. In summary, individual authors have in explicit statements paraded disparate qualifiers for the hierarchical network. For the most part, these qualifiers mark off rather arbitrary distinctions. They are arbitrary in the sense that while one or a selected few are explicitly used by an author, the qualifiers used by other authors are invariably implicit within the text. Consequently, the hierarchical network of ecological land classification appears to be one of manifold and nonexclusive forms. - 34 -5.00 METHODS OF DETERMINING CATEGORIES In the following sections the methods of determining the individual categories in the hierarchy of ecological land classification are discussed. The discussion is a comparative analysis. The categories are dealt with in a sequence of decreasing generalization, from the ecoregion to the ecotype. The ecoprovince and ecophase categories are only briefly mentioned a comparative analysis of these two categories would not be practical owing to the dearth of their use in land surveys. Even though the categories ecoregion, ecodistrict, ecosection and ecotype are analyzed independently, subthemes common to a l l categories are purposefully introduced in the f i r s t three categories. Ecoregions focus on the unity of characteristics, ecodistricts on the nature of patterns and ecosections on the multiple combinations of units. Figure 5 indicates what categories have been used in major Canadian studies. British Columbia was a questionable inclusion because the study follows biogeoclimatic zonation and may not necessarily correspond to the ecoregion concept in a l l respects. In comparison to the Saskatchewan ecoregions, however, i t provides comparable i f hot better estimations. In total area, the mapping of these four categories accounts for over 6,000,000 square kilometers. The relationship between categories of decreasing abstraction and areas mapped is an inverse one. Substantially more area has been mapped at the ecoregion level than at the ecotype level. This in part reflects the efforts and costs which are involved. 5.10 Ecoregion The ECOREGION is the most abstract generalization in current use. It was i n i t i a l l y referred to as the 'land region', but numerous synonyms have ARCTIC OCEAN 800 I miles LEGEND | Ecoregion Ecoregion, Ecodistrict and Ecosection Ecoregion and Ecosection Ecodistr ict and Ecosection ATLANTIC OCEAN Figure 5: Location and l e v e l of generalization(s) for major e c o l o g i c a l land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n studies. - 36 -been introduced such as 'land zone' (Zoltai, 1976), 'ecoregion' (Tarnocai and Boydell, 1975), 'ecological region or zone' (Woo and Zoltai, 1977), 'region ecologique' (Jurdant et a l , 1976), 'bioclimatic zone' (Holland, 1976) and 'site region' ( H i l l s , 1961). Equally, for subdivisions of this category, terms such as 'bioclimatic subzone' have been offered; while for hybrids between this category and the ecodistrict category, incongruous terms like 'ecoregion' (Oswald and Senyk, 1977) have been applied. Equally, 'biophysical region' (Hodgson, 1975) has been used for ecodistrict generalizations. From the onset, the description for ecoregion (land region) has been paradoxical. The contradictions are usually due to the absence of an adequate definition. In the 1969 Guidelines, a "Land Region is defined as an area of land characterized by a distinctive regional climate as 'expressed by  vegetation'. What was meant by distinctive or regional was never detailed nor was the kind of vegetation. The true paradox was stated in the section on land regions, where i t was stated that both "the climatic information necessary to classify these regions does not exist at present throughout most of Canada", and further that even i f i t were available, they were "not always certain of which ranges, extremes or averages in climatic data were of significance...." In concluding, i t was suggested that land regions be distinguished according to "gross or major physiographic variations", these being conveniently expressed at scales approximating "1:1,000,000 to 1:3,000,000, or smaller". To date, a regional climate continues to be an integral factor associated with ecoregions. Occasionally, however, macroclimate is substituted. This is questionable since macroclimate, according to the majority of climatologists, refers to climatic regimes which are global or continental in extent (Arlery, et a l , 1973 and Villeneuve, 1974). But, as before, some authors (Mills, 1976 and Tarnocai, 1976) concur that the meteorological data needed to classify such regional climates is not available. Further, they appropriately confirm that even i f this data did exist, there is uncertainty over which climatic parameters would be ecologically c r i t i c a l . Hills's (1976) work provides a greater in-depth discussion of ecoclimates than most, but his efforts centre on relative differences expressed largely by vegetation rather than any actual measurements of climatic variables. The results are very subjective ecoclimatic groupings designated as 'normal', 'hotter than normal' and 'colder than normal'. A regional climate is a nebulous entity. Its existence is drawn from inferences from other natural phenomena. These types of climatic groupings are examples of inferential climatic classifications (Findlay, 1976). Because factors other than vegetation ( s o i l development, physiography, and permafrost for instance), have proven to be of more immediate use in determining ecoregions, definitions have often been changed to include these factors. "land areas within which vegetation growth and pedogenic processes w i l l be similar on similar physiographic sites, being influenced by a uniform regional climate" (Woo and Zoltai, 1977) "portion de territoire caracterisee par un climat regional d i s t i n c t i f , t e l qu'exprime par la vegetation" (Jurdant e_t a l , 1976). "represents similiarities of climate as determined by vegetation, soils and, to some degree, the permafrost condition, which then produce specific ecosystems on material having similar properties" (Tarnocai and Boydell, 1975). "a pattern of broad landscapes, usually an aggregation of several contiguous landscapes characterized by a distinctive regional climate and extending over large areas" (Gimbarzevsky, 1977). ' - 3 8 -"depict macroclimates, as expressed by vegetation, that are controlled mainly by elevation and partly by l a t i t u d e and general east-west physiography" (Holland, 1976). The four d e f i n i t i o n s given above are representative of those which are quoted i n the l i t e r a t u r e . They are notably deceiving because they are not necessarily d e f i n i t i o n s and because they conceal what i s meant. De f i n i t i o n s are intended to characterize an e n t i t y so that i t can be c l e a r l y distinguished from a l l other e n t i t i e s . To achieve c l a r i t y , the d e f i n i t i o n given for a word(s) should be applicable to a l l occurrences of that e n t i t y being defined and should state the important c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s associated with the e n t i t y (Sharvy, 1970 and Condon, 1975). The four ' d e f i n i t i o n s ' state above appear to have a mixture of d e f i n i t i o n a l and r e f e r e n t i a l a t t r i b u t e s . For instance, a regional climate may be f i t t i n g for a l l ecoregions, but aspects related to permafrost, elevation and size are not. The l a t t e r are c r i t e r i a having s p e c i f i c reference to ingredients of one p a r t i c u l a r kind of natural environment (eg. permafrost i n norther environments; a l t i t u d i n a l zonation i n mountainous regions). So long as regional referents are contained, no d e f i n i t i o n can have a universal appeal -p r o v i n c i a l l y or n a t i o n a l l y . Regarding the problem of things being omitted, several of the d e f i n i t i o n s would have to be reworded to include c r i t e r i a such as physiography and trends i n associated s o i l s and vegetation. If d e f i n i t i o n s are not c l e a r l y stated and understood by authors, then what i s proposed as a d e f i n i t i o n w i l l , as in the past, remain inconsistent and subject to frequent change. The same things may be said i n regard to the d e f i n i t i o n s of the e c o d i s t r i c t , ecosection and ecotype categories. The previous paragraph provides examples of how problems p r o l i f e r a t e by - 39 -someone essentially not saying what is meant. The converse is also problematic. Perhaps i t is most succinctly claimed in Confucian logic " i f what was meant to be said was not said, then what was meant to be done remains undone". In this respect, authors present a confusing text by not saying what they actually mean. For example, Thie (1976) and Hirvonen e_t al_, (1976) cite land regions as being "an area of land characterized by a distinctive regional climate as expressed by vegetation". Both, however, state i t is otherwise later in their text. Thie indicates that the boundary of the land region is actually based on a physiographic divide, and that the climate is expressed not only by vegetation but also by permafrost as well. While Hirvonen ^ i t al_ feel that "physiographic patterns" are explicit to the definition, their descriptions of land regions entail the Inclusion of orders of soils ( i e . regosols, podzols). Other examples noting associated soils as indices are available. For each of the two ecoregions of Somerset and Prince of Wales islands (Woo and Zoltai, 1977), different modal soils of the subgroup level are reported. The High Arctic Region correlates with Regosolic Turbic Cryosols and the Mid-Arctic Region with Brunisolic Turbic Cryosols. Crarapton (1973) acknowledges that s o i l development (ie. sub-groups) is an indicator of individual ecoregions and general climate, but ironically he discounts the relevance of vegetation. What is intended by vegetation when accepted by investigators appears to be a quandary. A host of qualifiers have been deployed, including general groupings (ie. forest-tundra type as per Thie, 1976), limits of specific plants (eg. Ledum, decumbens, Vaccinium vitis-idaea and V. uliginosum as per Tarnocai, 1976), vegetation chronosequence (Zoltai, 1976), and differences in plant distribution successional patterns or frequency on similar physiographic areas (Woo and Zoltai, 1977). - 40 -While c r i t e r i a for recognition should be deleted from definitions, they are c r i t i c a l in specifying the level of generalization in question. When recognition characteristics are omitted, what is meant is open to interpretation. Figure 6 illustrates the problem which often eventuates. This figure combines the ecoregion maps produced in Manitoba, Ontairo and Quebec. In each province, the investigator's concept of ecoregion has been equated to the land region definition of 1969, either by themselves or by others. Agreement in interpretation from one province to another is not apparent. In Manitoba, ecoregions seemingly correspond to broad zones while in the other two provinces they appear to be subdivisions of similar zones. The benchmarks for recognition in each case differs. In Manitoba, i t is a function of broad vegetation zonation, permafrost regime and s o i l characteristics (Mills, 1976); in Ontario, of interrelationships between vegetation type and a combination of macroclimate, ecoclimate, landform and s o i l moisture ( H i l l s , 1976); in Quebec, of dominant plant physiognomy (Jurdant et a l , 1976). From an overall perspective, the waffling with c r i t e r i a , or particular aspects of any one criterion can be p e r p l e x i n g . It raises the question: are preferences due to educational backgrounds, to greater u t i l i t y , to the inability to recognize important clues, to the lack of adequate fi e l d investigations or to a combination of these? An answer to this question would require personal interviews with most investigators and, as such, is beyond the scope of this analysis. If we can place credence in the broad spectrum of definitions and delete items which only have a regional referent, then 'ecoregions' could be more correctly defined. Based on the collective empiricism of previous studies, i t would have to include meso characteristics of ecoclimate, s o i l development, vegetation, physiography, Manitoba Ontario Quebec HS High Subarctic LS Low Subarctic HB High Boreal MB Mid Boreal LB Low Boreal lHm Hudson Bay 2Hm James Bay 3Hm Lake Abitibi 4Hm Lake Timagami 5Hm Georgian Bay 6Hm Lake Simcoe 7Hm Lake Erie 2Hd Big Trout Lake 3Hd Lake St.Joseph 4Hdy Lake Nipigon 5Hdv Pigeon River 3Sm Berens River 4Sm Lac Seul 5Sm Lake of the Woods LO Pointe Louis XIV MA Manitounuk BI Lac Bienville DE Lac Delorme SC Mont Schefferville RO Riviere Roggan KA Riviere Kanaaupscow LE Lac Legrand FG Fort George SA Lac Sakami NI Lac Nitchicun OP Lac Opiscoteo RU Baie de Rupert EV Lac Evens MI Lac Mistassini HI Lac Hippocampe OT Monts Otish MT Lac Matagami CH Lac Chibougamau Figure 6: Comparison of ecoregions in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. and water, not in isolation but in combination. Where sets of these characteristics are unified being formed of parts that constitute a whole, due to interconnections and coherence of parts and where some boundary separates the continuity of these biological and physical land characteristics on 'normal sites' ( H i l l s , 1976) from other unified forms, a natural or phenomenal system exists. At the meso scale, unified forms could be termed ecoregions. Unity is not selective to this order of magnitude; i t persists in the ecodistrict, ecosection and ecotype levels. The solidarity i s , of course, different in that i t is of increasing detail with each subsequent level. This point is maintained by Herz (1973) who advocates that each level of generalization should be a unity expressing some dominant or definitive property peculiar to it s own level. Predominantly, ecoregions have been cartographically expressed at scales ranging from 1:1,000,000 to 1:3,000,000. Smaller scales are usually unsuitable and are more appropriate to levels of generalization like the ECOPROVINCE. On occasion, ecoregions have been displayed on maps of a larger scale (ie. 1:125,000). Where the boundaries of units on these maps are given by discrete lines, they imply a precise division; in fact, the interfaces are more correctly gradients. The actual width and properties of these gradients wi l l vary. This is largely governed by the complexity of the natural setting and the distinctiveness of biological or physical land characteristics. In the Great Central Plains and the Canadian Shield, they are in the order of 10's of kilometers, whereas in the mountainous regions, the boundaries are typically more f i n i t e . Once determined, ecoregions have been designated in various ways. The l i s t includes numbers, letters and names or combinations of these. The names themselves are not restricted to any one connotation. Some connote a natural environment and climate as the Low Arctic Ecoregion (Tarnocai, 1976); some - 43 -suggest physiography as the Southern Hi l l s Region (Airphoto Analysis Associates, 1975); while s t i l l other are related names as the Norman Wells Region (Crampton, 1973). 5.20 Ecodistrict As with ECOREGION the literature is replete with terms which are equivalent to ECODISTRICT. The l i s t includes 'land d i s t r i c t ' (Subcom. Biophy. Land. Class, 1969), 'district ecologique' (Jurdant et a l , 1976), 'vegetation-soil d i s t r i c t ' (Holland, 1976), 'ecological d i s t r i c t ' (Woo and Zoltai, 1977), 'site d i s t r i c t ' ( H i l l s , 1961), 'landscape type' (Barnett et a l , 1977), 'biophysical region' (Hodgson, 1975) and 'bio-physical system' (B.C. Land Class. Subcom., 1968). While as a collective they demonstrate many commonalities, schisms in opinion over what is meant by an ecodistrict are evident. In 1969, the Subcommittee on Biophysical Land Classification proposed that an ecodistrict (land d i s t r i c t ) be defined as: "an area of land characterized by a distinctive pattern of r e l i e f , geology, geomorphology and associated regional vegetation. The Land District is a subdivision of the Land Region based primarily on the separation of major physiographic and/or geologic patterns which characterize the region as a whole. Land Districts have a common pattern of re l i e f , structure or comparable geomorphic evolution. Land Districts can be conveniently portrayed on maps at scales from 1:500,000 to 1:1,000,000". More often than not, the range of map scales given to the ecodistrict, as well as the other categories, are taken with an unintended rigid i t y . For the ecodistrict, the scales quoted in 1969 are s t i l l valid. Based on the experience of completed land surveys, the range has expanded to include larger scales. Most of the finished works favor the lower half of this range. The 1:125,000 scale is common in northern surveys (Tarnocai, 1976; Woo and Zoltai, 1977 and Barnett et a l , 1977). The smaller scale, 1:500,000 maps, has found greater currency in the southern latitudes adjacent to James Bay. - 44 -A r a t i n e in mapping scale f o r any given ievei o f generalization is required for cartographic convenience and for resource planning and management needs. As units for any one level of generalization can vary in size and in complexity, mapping scales must be flexible. Where units are large and are f a i r l y regular in their inherent characteristics, as in the prairie environment, smaller scales usually suffice. In more complex natural environments, as in the mountainous terrain, equivalent kinds of units lend themselves to the larger scales in any given range. This is largely due to their smaller size and increased complexity. The 1969 definition is s t i l l cited in the works of the Service des Etudes Ecologiques Regionales in Quebec, in Alberta and of the Northern Resource Information Program in Manitoba. Their reports, however, would suggest that i t is cited largely as a matter of habit rather than as a function of what is meant. For instance, Jurdant e:t_ al^ (1976) quote the definition but in turn state that ecodistrict maps are "une synthese permettant de saisir la realite globale de 1'ensemble du territoire dans ses aspects climatiques, phyto-geographiques, geologiques et geomorphologiques". Aspects of plant geography and climate also assume an importance which could not be inferred from their definition. Hirvonen et al (1976) and Mills (1976) similarily adhere to this definition. While Mills provides greater detail, they both provide a treatise on dominant s o i l and water components in their ecodistrict descriptions. Again, these components are not suggested in the definition used. Renditions of the ecodistrict (land region) definition have been conceived. Those which are exemplary are provided below, the order corresponding roughly to the degree of alteration: "components of a land region, characterized by a distinctive pattern of r e l i e f , geo-logical structure, geomorphic evaluation and associated vegetational complex" (Gimbarzevsky, 1975, 1976); - 45 -"is a subdivision of the ecoregion and represents similarities of geological, physiographical and geomorphological patterns, s o i l parent materials and associated ground ice conditions" (Tarnocai, 1976); "is basically a sub-division of a land region based primarily on the separation of major physiographic and/or geologic patterns that characterize the regions as a whole" (Thie, 1976); "representing the basic parent materials in the s u r f i c i a l geology ..." (Crampton, 1973); "are subdivisions of ecological regions based on significant changes in the nature and relief of s u r f i c i a l materials" (Woo and Zoltai, 1977); "depict trends in s o i l and vegetation development as influenced by meso-climate (or physiographic modification macro-climate) interacting with latitudinal, elevational and broad material (reaction and calcareousness) variations" (Holland 1976); and correspond to changes in bedrock and "are reflected by changes in vegetation per cent cover or vegetation community composition or both" (Barnett et a l , 1977). Biases are obvious from an overview of the renditions. Some investigators choose to delete: vegetation, everything but parent materials, or everything but s u r f i c i a l materials. Others choose to add: ground ice conditions, trends in s o i l and vegetation development, climate, vegetative ground cover and composition of plant community. In a similar fashion to the ecoregion, the broad spectrum of the major environmental components appears to be suitable for and indicative of ecodistricts. Isolating any one component, or a selected few, is correlated more to individual preferences of practitioners and to regional ingredients of natural - 46 -environments than to the functional soundness of the spectrum. The Eastern Melville Island study (Barnett et^  a l , 1977) is i l l u s t r a t i v e . Since the investigating team consisted of geologists and botanists, their efforts to depict units of land concentrated on the rock base and vegetation. As this area is essentially a residual landscape in which one would expect a strong correlation with the underlying lithology. In relation to the major portion of Canadian landscapes this area is an oddity in that i t lacks glacial deposits. As such, the natural environment is a typical and the extrapolation of units in terms of geo-botanical facies would not be feasible nationally. Ecodistricts are either considered disaggregations of ecoregions or aggregations of ecosections. Parallels can be drawn for the ecosection and ecotype levels. For some, this process of deriving units by disaggregating units of higher levels of abstraction or by aggregating units of lower levels of abstraction assumes importance. Disaggregation according to Wright (1972), "requires and understanding of the cause of variety within a population" and aggregation, in contrast, "depends on observable facts about individuals". For ecological land classification, this 'either or' process of classification is an absurd method. Categorizing a unit could follow either direction simultaneously. The weighting given to either one depends on the circumstances and the individual. Thomas (1976) in discussion of land resource surveys comments that "the descending classification is also characteristic of land system surveys for these rest principally upon the recognition of pattern areas He f a i l s to understand that the converse is also true. Aggregation is simply the opposite p r o c e s s — one of increasing unification of units based on common elements of pattern. - 47 -Pattern, i t s e l f , is a qualifier in need of an antidote. By common usage, i t is restricted to ecodistrict and ecosection categories. Ecodistricts are characterized by a distinctive pattern of r e l i e f , geology, geomorphology and associated vegetation and ecosections are characterized by a recurring pattern of landforms, soils and vegetation. The most obvious questions are a pattern in what sense and why should i t be restricted to these two categories. A glib response is that pattern has manifold connotations and that pattern applies to a l l levels of generalization in the hierarchy. Within the hierarchy, the c r i t e r i a for pattern are progressively generalized as are the categories themselves. The concept of pattern has been used at the ecoregion and the ecotype levels. The sense in which i t is applied varies. Ecoregions (site regions) in Ontario are considered to be patterns of site types ( H i l l s , 1976). As a contrast, ecoregions (land regions) in the Mealy Mountain Area study encompassed various physiographic patterns (Hirvonen et^ a l , 1976) whereas in the Terra Nova and Auyuittuq national park studies, they corresponded to patterns pf vegetation (Gauthier, 1975, 1977). In relation to types, patterns are more expansive in their meaning. Ecotypes (land types) in Kouchibouguac park are described as areas with "repeated distinctive patterns" of s o i l and vegetation "related to patterns of land form" (Watson, 1971). In the Tobeatic land resource study, ecotypes (land units or land types) were areas of land having "a recurring land pattern with the same so i l type, rock type, drainage pattern and in theory the same vegetation association" (Mailman, 1975). The nature of patterns at the ecodistrict and ecosection levels themselves are not without inconsistencies. Patterns in ecosections (land systems) can be, for example, those of land types (Bailey, 1976) or of - 48 -vegetation-landforra (Crampton, 1973). As it was directly stated in the 1969 Guidelines the Canadian category 'land system' appears to have been an adaptation of the Australian definition. Their definition, as used in the CSIRO, is given as "an area or group of areas, throughout which there is a recurring pattern of topography, soils and vegetation" (Christian and Stewart, 1968). As the Australian land system is not fixed to any scale, recurring pattern could have been taken out of context. In Balonne-Maronoa report (Galloway et a l , 1974) of CSIRO, land systems are expressed at a 1:500,000 map scale. In the Canadian approach, this would suggest recurring pattern could be applied to ecoregions and ecodistricts. Qualifying the pattern of ecodistrict and ecosection by respective adjectives distinctive and recurring is meaningless. By virtue of isolating a tract of land as an ecodistrict or any other level of generalization, i t automatically possesses distinctive characteristics. If i t did not, a separation of members and nonmembers would be impossible. Recurrent is also a universal element in categories. Distinctive populations are determined by the recurrence of certain characteristics among the total populace. In the absence of particular recurrent characteristics, there would be no foundation for a classificaiton scheme. In retrospect, what is accepted by authors as a pattern is multifarious. While they concentrate on a pattern in the sense of configuration of parts and spatial relationships, the literature contains firm suggestions that time and behaviour patterns are equally applicable. In these three forms of pattern orderliness is implied, not in i t s absolute state but in the degrees of unity expressed. The degrees of order have been outlined by Weiss (1971). Figure 7 illustrates the three major forms of pattern. £> -3 b v* i • • • % f - • Y a0° iPOQ? • C 4 d * • • . A t> < „ • • '< v t> v . v . > < <J A A < > A A r 4 r % » 4 f w • T 4 • n • O D* O uoo D O ci a o o oo oo o • • • • • • • • • *• . • • z < < A A > ^ • £ o oo o« 0 D o o o ^ l I B S O D D t 1 1 Figure 7: Three major forms of pattern in land ecosystems. - 50 -State X denotes a u n i f i e d mixture of a heterogenous population representing maximum disorder. This pattern i s t y p i c a l of land ecosystems which occur on uniform deposits of low r e l i e f (e.g. l a c u s t r i n e , t i l l p lain) and i n the same stage of vegetation development. State Y i s an intermediate state of order, showing p a r t i a l s o r t i n g . It can be equated to the ecosystem occurring on patterned fens or areas of ablation t i l l . In t h i s state the population i s segregated into homologous components within a mixed population. Beyond representing components, i t could also apply to time patterns. Each homologous group could refer to a d i f f e r e n t stage i n vegetation chronosequence. This case i s t y p i c a l of areas which experience frequent and periodic burns. The f i n a l state — Z — represents the highest degree of order. It coincides with the patterns on drumlinized t i l l p l a i n s , on c o l l u v i a l slope or on mountainous t e r r a i n . In the l a t e r two, they would be p a r a l l e l to the differences i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which are associated with elevation changes. In mountainous ecoregions, empty trian g l e s could correspond to alpine and the dark squares the lower forested slopes. For ecosections on c o l l u v i a l fans, state — Z — could represent the general r e l a t i o n s h i p s of parent materials and vegetation; for ecoregions, i t could represent t r a n s i t i o n s in either b i o l o g i c a l or physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . - 51 -The concept of p a t t e r n i s b r i e f l y discussed i n L ' I n v e n t a i r e du C a p i t a l -Nature (Jurdant e_t a l , 1977) . Th e i r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n r e f e r s l a r g e l y to the arrangement of s t r u c t u r a l p a r t s . They do, however, acknowledge that a p a t t e r n need not have r e p e t i t i v e p a r t s , only that the combination of objects be s t r u c t u r e d . P a t t e r n s are not always obvious. They can be p e r c e i v a b l e but not n e c e s s a r i l y recognized. The a b i l i t y to recognize s i g n i f i c a n t components of the environment i s not a f u n c t i o n of the environment i t s e l f so much as i t i s a f u n c t i o n of who observes and. from where. Because of the i n v e s t i g a t o r ' s personal i n t e r e s t , he i n v a r i a b l y s e l e c t s that p a r t of the n a t u r a l environment he wishes to experience. Consequently, d i s c r i m i n a t o r y a c u i t y tends to be a s e l e c t i v e process. The e c o d i s t r i c t s of the Boothia P e n i n s u l a (Tarnocai et a l , 1976) i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s p o i n t . F i g u r e 8 i n d i c a t e s the d i s t r i b u t i o n of e c o d i s t r i c t s M-6 and M-3. In the t e x t , the d e s c r i p t i o n s given f o r each e c o d i s t r i c t a r e , i n a capsular form, comprehensive. The d e s c r i p t i o n s adhere to or more c u r r e n t l y are locked i n t o the stated d e f i n i t i o n . In doing so, the authors have neglected a prominent component. The two e c o d i s t r i c t s are s t r i k i n g , having c o n t r a s t i n g d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e i r p atterns of lakes and ponds. E c o d i s t r i c t M-6 has numerous c i r c u l a r and elongated water bodies, whereas i n e c o d i s t r i c t M-3 they are e s s e n t i a l l y absent. The reason why these water bodies were omitted are s p e c u l a t i v e but t r a d i t i o n s i n survey methods and personal i n t e r e s t s are probable f a c t o r s . - 53 -5.30 Ecosections ECOSECTIONS have not escaped the l i a b i l i t i e s of synomyms. They have been variously termed 'land systems', 'ecoarea or mapping unit' (Tarnocai, 1976) 'systeme ecologique' (Jurdant et a l , 1976), 'geobotanical facies' (Barnett et a l , 1977), 'biophysical unit' (Hodgson, 1975) and 'bio-physical unit 1 (B.C. For Land Class. Subcom., 1968). Other terms such as 'terrain system' (Valentine, 1971), 'site system' ( H i l l s , 1976) and 'bio-physical type' (Young, 1975) are closely related. The overall aim of the biophysical land classification guidelines of 1969 was to differentiate and classify ecologically significant segments of the land surface (Subcom. on Bio-physical Land Class., 1969). Considering the modifications which have been introduced so far at the ecoregion and ecodistrict levels, the ecological perspective given to these two categories was lacking. For the ecosection category, i t is a different case. From the onset, i t was defined by cri t e r i a which would provide the infrastructure of most ecosystems. As such, the notion of an ecosection has been less suspect in relation to the other categories, and has endured with fewer changes. The original definition which is listed below is s t i l l generally accepted. "an area of land throughout which there is a recurring pattern of landforms, soils and vegetation... a mapping scale of 1:125,000 is the most useful..." (Sucbcom. on Bio-physical Land Class., 1969) The modifications which have taken place are slight and have essentially expanded the ecological perspective of the unit. Jurdant et al (1976) have added water bodies and qualified vegetation by aspects of i t s chronsequences. In terms of soils, the ecosections correspond to s o i l associations, or more commonly, groups of two or more s o i l associations. - 54 -It is d i f f i c u l t at times to clearly see the difference, other than name, between s o i l association map units and ecosections. Young (1975) states that the "bio-physical type" is synonymous with the term s o i l association, being "an integral of geology, landform, climate, vegetation zone, so i l zone and their modification over time..." If correct, the description is a parallel to ecosections in this context. The system of landform classification has been one of "local" forms. These are readily represented on maps at scales of 1:50,000 to 1:500,000 (Landform Mapping Systems Subcom., 1977). Plant classification is linked to dominant vegetation communities or dominant vegetation associations. At the common scale of mapping (eg. 1:125,000), the sizes of individual ecosections can vary. Often, the smaller ecosections are awkward to delineate as a single mapping unit. To circumvent this problem, individual ecosections can be combined to form a composite mapping unit. These combinations, as opposed to simple ecosections, have been termed complex and compound. The terms were derived from Australian (Christian, 1957) and British (Brink et a l , 1965) works. Based on these two publications, the terms were described in the 1969 Guidelines. Ironically, some of the Australian concepts pertaining to these mixed units of ecosections had already changed. The original concept was based on the simple land system, a composite of related subunits (ie land units) sharing a common geomorphic base. A complexed land system was "a group of related simple land systems" and a compound land system was "a group made merely for convenience" (Christian, 1957). The difference between the two is certainly equivocal since a complex land system could be used for cartographic convenience and thus become a compound land system. The indefiniteness probably precipitated the change in philosophy towards these concepts. In 1968 Christian and Stewart restated their views. A simple land system consisted - 55 -of subunits "which recur in association to form a simple recurring pattern ... restricted to a climatic range which does not involve major vegetation or s o i l transitions due to the climate factor". A complex land system remained a multiple grouping of simple land systems which demonstrated genetic coherence in their geomorphic evolution. If this denominator was lacking, then a grouping of simple land systems was called a compound system. In English works which discuss the Oxford - MEXE system of land classification (Lawrance, 1972), these views are also maintained. Simple land systems are seldom mapped in Canadian land surveys. The majority of ecosection mapping employs combinational units, but the designations of complex and compound are largely ignored. Where i t is used, the context is not resolute. In several reports of the Land Use Assignment Section (Kumar, 1977; Van Wass, 1977 and Boyacioglu, 1977) the phrase "Land System is a complex mapping unit" is parroted. Though the 1969 Guidelines are cited in their methodology section, the interpretation of complex appears to be in-house. Their ecosections (land systems) cover units which are mono, and polygenetic in their geomorphologic origins. If the concept was accepted, the units would have been appropriately termed. Simple and compound ecosections (land systems) are distinguished in the L'Anse aux Meadows survey (Gimbarzevsky, 1977b). As the author states, "A simple land system is made up of a single landform..." and "A compound land system consists of several landforms." The latter is an intimate mixture of dominant and subdominant forms (eg. marine plain and organic deposits). The interpretation of compound is personal, as the complex land system designation is not given discrete status. The word complex, however, is used. The mixture of landforms in the compound system forms "a complex landscape pattern". Tarnocai (1976), on the other hand speaks of ecosections of the 'single landform types' and those - 56 -of composite landform types. Divisions of the composite types are not developed. Even i f they are not followed, the concepts of simple, complex and compound systems have relevance which reaches beyond the ecosection level. Unfortunately, because i t has been associated with this level of generalization, the use of these concepts are thought of as being fixed and immutable. Ecoregions and ecodistricts which have been described also demonstrate a common or mixed geomorphic evolution in the genetic sense but at a level of abstraction appropriate to their own rank in the hierarchical scale. An ecodistrict associated with: a t i l l plain could be termed "simple"; a t i l l plain having the topographical lows i n f i l l e d with organic deposits could be a complex d i s t r i c t ; and a t i l l plain interspersed with outcrops of granitic h i l l s and colluvium could be labelled a compound ecodistrict. Similar analogies can be applied to ecoregions but at a greater level of abstraction. In terms of cartographic convenience, the concepts would have certain merits in characterizing units in mountainous areas. Ecoregions or ecodistricts in this type of terrain are typically multiple combination units. The Northern Mountain ecoregion in the Yukon Territoriy study (Oswald and Senyk, 1977) is one example of many. This particular unit includes two bioclimatic zones: the artic tundra and the alpine tundra. Bioclimatic zones such as these are normally separated as distinct ecoregions as they are in Manitoba (Mills, 1976) and in Quebec (Jurdant et a l , 1976) or subdivided as in Ontario ( H i l l s , 1976). For ecotypes (land types), as well, the principle could hold. Ecotypes occurring on single and mixed geomorphic base are documented in several reports, including: L'Inventaire du Capital - Nature (Jurdant et a l , 1977), Terra Nova National Park (Gauthier, Poulin, Theriault Ltd., 1977) and Gros Morne National Park - 57 -(Airphoto A n a l y s i s A s s o c i a t e s , 1975). R e i t e r a t i n g the reason f o r having these concepts i n i t i a l l y at the ecosection l e v e l , Mailman (1975) states that h i s ecotypes are " s i n g l e land forms or groups of land forms too i n t i m a t e l y a s s ociated to be mapped se p a r a t e l y " . H i l l s (1976) e x p l a i n s s i m i l a r groupings termed " s i t e a s s o c i a t i o n s " . Though the concepts of simple, complex and compound systems were introduced l a r g e l y f o r convenience i n cartographic production, the s i z e s of mapping u n i t s or t h e i r c o n f i g u r a t i o n have not r e a l l y been an acknowledged problem. The shapes of ecosections are c i r c u l a r , elongated, square or sinuous. The a r e a l extent i s a l s o v a r i a b l e and i s , i n cases, extreme. For the Hayes River map sheet i n Manitoba ( M i l l s , 1976), ecosection u n i t s range i n s i z e from 1 square kilometer to over 400 square kilometers on a 1:125,000 map base. In the La Crete map sheet i n A l b e r t a (Cameron, 1976), the extreme are comparable, ranging from 1 to over 300 square kilometers on a 1:126,720 s map base. Ecoregions and e c o d i s t r i c t s are no exceptions. A b r i e f reference back to f i g u r e 5 would i n d i c a t e the v a r i a t i o n s i n area. The Monts O t i s h ecoregion of Quebec i s i n the order of 100 square kilometers and the Low Subarctic ecoregion i n Manitoba i s over 140,000 square k i l o m e t e r s . Extremes i n s i z e and shape are not t r a i t s of Canadian works alone. Areas of one-half a square kilometer through to 6000 square kilometers are displayed on the A u s t r a l i a n A l l i g a t o r River study area (Story e_t a l , 1976). On t h i s 1:250,000 map of land systems, the shapes of map u n i t s are e q u a l l y as assorted as those shown on Canadian maps. 5.40 Ecotype Nomenclature f o r ECOTYPES has not been constant. Equivalents include 'type ecologique' (Jurdant e_t a l , 1976), ' b i o - p h y s i c a l components' (B.C. Forest Land C l a s s . Subcom., 1968), 'land u n i t ' (Mailman, 1975), 'land f a c e t ' ( D i r s c h l e_t a l , 1974) and most commonly 'land type' (Subcom. on - 58 -Bio-physical Land Class., 1969). Other terms bear a close resemblance. These cover the 'terrain unit' (Barnett et a l , 1977), the 'biophysical map unit' (Holland, 1976) and the 'site type' ( H i l l s , 1976). There are other opinions on the latter term. Burger (1972) comments that the ecotype (land type) is similar to the total site type and that physiographic components of the ecotype unit would be like the physiographic site type. Ecotype (land type) was the smallest unit recognized in the 1969 Guidelines. It was defined as an area of land on a particular parent material which possessed a f a i r l y homogeneous combination of s o i l (eg. s o i l series) and chronosequence of vegetation. Suitable mapping scales envisaged were those as small as 1:60,000 and those as large as 1:10,000. Land surveys at the ecotype level have been conducted since the publication of these guidelines. The mapping scales have ranged from 1:10,000 to 1:50,000, supporting the validity of the map scales originally envisioned. A slight dichotomy surrounds the original definition. While at casual observation they appear contrasting, the two directions taken are not markedly different. The differences concern the interpretation of s o i l . Jurdant e_t a l (1976, 1977) define the ecotype (type ecologique) as "portion de territoire caracterisee par une combinaison relativement uniforme du sol et de la chronosequence vegetale". Parent material has been dropped and naturally assumed as part of the s o i l series definition i t s e l f . Evidence for this is provided in their description tables of ecotypes. These characterize the units according to three major components: geomorphology (local forms)^ soils ( s o i l series) and vegetation chronosequence. - 59 -The other faction has expanded the characteristics of soils and occasionally added other items such as climate and bedrock base. Three examples are l i s t e d . "a recurring land pattern with the same s o i l type, rock type, drainage pattern and in theory the same vegetation association" (Mailman, 1975) "occurs on a particular parent material and is characterized by a f a r i l y homogeneous combination of s o i l topography, moisture conditions and chronosequence of natural vegetation" (Gimbarsevaky, 1975) "an area of land having specific s o i l moisture, texture, consistency, structure, coarse fragments type, coating depth, parent rock type, slope and climatic exposure" (Bailey, 1976) Like the other categories, the character of ecotype mapping units can be composite. When mapping scales are large and inherent land characteristics relatively unmixed, these frequently correspond to s o i l series, a landform or portions of landforms and a chronosequence of vegetation. If mapping scales are small and the natural characteristics are very mixed, ecotypes correspond to groups of s o i l series, of landforms or portions of landforms and of vegetation chronosequences. X Ecotypes can be graded in subunits termed ECOPHASES on the basis of their stage in a vegetation chronosequence. As such, ecophases represent a temporal stage of another category. This is not f i t t i n g with the logic of differentiation in the other categories. If the logic was aligned there would be phases for each of the higher levels of generalization. An ecosection, for example, having various areas of burn and nonburn could possess climax and serai stages of vegetation. Drawing a parallel to the ecotype-ecophase relationship, the ecosections should or could be subdivided into phases. Because of i t s peculiarity, ecophases should not be thought of as an integral part of the hierarchical scheme of ecological land classification. - 60 -6.00 METHODS OF APPLYING THE APPROACH It is generally accepted that integrated surveys, such as ecological land classification, must involve the coordination of a number of disciplines. Coordination has, however, been conceived differently in the application of actual land surveys. These variations concern the ways in which the disciplines have been brought together and the number of disciplines that have been involved. Both of these factors have been governed by the resources which are made available to conduct the land survey more than by idealized methodologies in applying the approach. A broad scanning of survey reports and supplementary sources of literature reveals the that three basic designs are applied. The three designs may, for reference, be termed as follows: (I) single disciplinary, (2) multidisciplinary and (3) interdisciplinary. Some authors acknowledge these designs but the particular word choosen is not in context with their description. As with most classifications, these three designs are not mutually exclusive as each grades into the other. Moreover, throughout a survey more than one design or different designs may be associated with phases of the work. The single disciplinary design refers to approaches in which a single investigator, or a group i f investigators with similar educational backgrounds, endeavour to accomplish the land survey. Small study areas and specific objectives are associated with this route. Its merits centre on it s low cost and speed as greater inputs of resources could not achieve the same economies of scale. The Canadian Wildlife Service (Watson, 1971 and Dirschl et a l , 1974) and National Parks (Gimbarsevsky, 1975, 1977) have effectively employed this design. While an ecological perspective is attempted, judgements in the investigation are often swayed to individual - 61 -components of the environment. The lack of a balance of expertise consequently favors concentration on i n d i v i d u a l manifestation of the land ecosystem rather than the diverse forms of i t s s o l i d a r i t y . The second design the m u l t i d i s c i p l i n a r y involves separate inventorying of the major environmental components by a broad group of expertise or the amalgamation of the major components. L i t t l e e f f o r t i s spent to synthesize. Cooperation and discussion amoung d i s c i p l i n e s tends to be l i m i t e d . The l e v e l of d e t a i l for each component i s approximately the same. Parts of the Mackenzie Valley study and the approach taken by the Resource Analysis Unit i n B r i t i s h Columbia are t y p i c a l of this design. There are other approaches taken which are p i v o t a l between this design and the i n t e r d i s c i p l i n a r y design. The Resource Appraisal Group's reports i n Alberta are exemplary. While they use diverse expertise physical geographer, pedologists, foresters and b i o l o g i s t s (Van Wass, personal communication) t h e i r descriptions of land ecosystems are compartmentalized according to major environmental components. The emphasis i s lodged on the parts instead of the unity of the land ecosystem as a whole. The i n t e r d i s c i p l i n a r y design i s becoming increasingly popular e s p e c i a l l y when environmental concerns are themselves m u l t i f a r i o u s . This design requires experts i n various d i s c i p l i n e s to combine the i r knowledge. While each d i s c i p l i n e may produced separate reports, the main e f f o r t i s to produce an integrated e c o l o g i c a l data base. The design could be c a l l e d h o l i s t i c as i t i s geared to portray the c o l l e c t i v e unity of land, delimited as ecosystems. Perhaps the best example of this design i s provided by Jurdant e_t j i l (1977). Their work i n the James Bay t e r r i t o r y i s c e r t a i n l y the current hallmark for e c o l o g i c a l land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n studies. This type of - 62 -operation works best in cases involving sizeable areas and having liberal support resources. The systematic ecological mapping of the James Bay area covered 410,000 square kilometers and involved a 29 man interdisciplinary team, The methods of conducting these three designs are poorly documented. As a result, the work which is involved from pre - to post-field operations is not well understood, even by some of the practitioners themselves. When mentioned, i t is flighty and reference is passed back to the Guidelines of 1969. More effort is invariably devoted to the methods surrounding the conventions deployed on maps and aerial photographs. The James Bay study is an exception, as the methods of conducting the survey are specified. Since the others have not, i t is d i f f i c u l t to say on a comparative basis whether the methodology is representative. When the interdiciplinary approach is not used, the material produced tends to represent an 'economy' package to ecological land survey. As many of the investigators have had a background in pedology, the survey reports can be very similar to so i l survey reports with the exception that ecological generalizations such as ecoregions, ecodistricts etc... are superimposed. However, because these generalizations have often been superficial and noted in other ways in s o i l survey reports, the difference between the two can be slight. With the interdisciplinary rendition of the ecological land survey, the difference more marked. In addition to detailing soils, other ecological components (eg. water, vegetation, climate e t c . . ) plus land ecosystems themselves are given comparable treatment. - 63 -7.00 CONCLUSIONS Absolute conclusions are arduous to state. Certain restrictions on what can be concluded are imposed by the comparative model which has been used in this analysis. Different time sequences in surveys are a problem. The views expressed by authors in one time frame may not be representative of their current notions. Another problem is that the content of reports by themselves is awkward to evaluate. The evaluation assumes that authors have expressed their ideas and procedures correctly and that what has been said has been correctly interpreted. It is with d i f f i c u l t i e s in mind that conclusions have been formulated. From a historical perspective, ecological land classification has grown from the shadows of foreign precedents and has cultured through the experience of Canadian land surveys. Currently, the approach of ecological land classification varies from place to place. Certainly no approach which works under such differing circumstances can be expected to be completely devoid of regional differences. The underlying concepts however show marked commonalities but these are frequently camouflaged by terminological disorder and personal bias of investigators. These two factors are not unique to Canada nor are they unique to this f i e l d of endeavour. When the Working Group on Land Classification and Data Storage (Brink et a l , 1966) reviewed the Oxford-MEXE system of land classification along with systems originating from other countries and organizations, they discovered that the fundamental underpinning each was alike. More to the point, they concluded that even though the respective terminology of each system may differ substantially because of their aims (ie. road engineering, forestry survey, agriculture survey), the principles and means of defining units of similar size and complexity were the same. Problems of terminology - 64 -r e s u l t i n g from d i f f e r e n t d i s c i p l i n e s entering the same arena of study are reported i n Russia. By disregarding the peculiar terms and bias, the analysis of Canadian approaches has provided a consciousness of the d i s t i n g u i s h i n g features and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of e c o l o g i c a l land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , and helped place the approach i n a national context. The approach i s a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n system whose categories are arranged according to a hierarchy. There are b i o l o g i c a l and physical land c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which are dominant and others which are subordinate to the f i r s t ; the nature of these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s depends upon the category or l e v e l of generalization involved, as each i s arranged i n accordance to d i f f e r e n t degrees of comprehensiveness. Those which are most comprehensive i n t h e i r inclusiveness are determined by general c r i t e r i a whereas those which are least comprehensive are determined by c r i t e r i a , steeped in d e t a i l . These h i e r a r c h i c a l categories are not i s o l a t e d groupings, as they stand i n a fixed r e l a t i o n s h i p to each other, and together constitute a unitary whole. Moreover, these categories have s c i e n t i f i c purpose as they are intended to advance understanding and to make i n t e l l i g i b l e the re l a t i o n s which exist between land ecosystems of the same or of a d i f f e r e n t order. For each of the categories in the hierarchy, the way in which land ecosystems resemble or d i f f e r from each other has played an important part i n the genesis of the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n system. But resemblances i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are one thing and d e f i n i t i o n s are another. After having discussed e x i s t i n g d e f i n i t i o n s repeatedly i n t h i s text, t h e i r adequacy i s questionable. Each category i s blurred by the indifference between c r i t e r i a for d e f i n i t i o n and c r i t e r i a for recognition. The simplest remedy would be to (1) drop the old d e f i n i t i o n s and substitute a general one, and (2) to - 65 -expand the recognition c r i t e r i a which i s pertinent to each. Considering past d e f i n i t i o n s with the concepts generally held for what they represent, the equivalence i s suspicious. By r e f e r r i n g to them by only a few of the environmental components, one gives them an inappropriate name since they do not correspond to land as an ecosystem. Attenuating i n d i v i d u a l manifestations of the environment i n d e f i n i t i o n s only d i s t r a c t s from the ec o l o g i c a l approach of the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n system. Ecosystems are the products b i o t i c and a b i o t i c components working through time. For land, t h i s holds from global scales through to orders i n the micro scale range. At any given l e v e l of generalization, land ecosystems consist of combinations of these components. In s e l e c t i v e instances, s p e c i f i c c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of components such as s o i l development, s u r f i c i a l material, vegetation and bedrock may not be represented or contained within a u n i t . Even i f they are a l l present, the r e l a t i v e proportions and s p e c i f i c t r a i t s of each unit would d i f f e r . It also a misconception that at any one l e v e l of generalization one c h a r a c t e r i s t i c predominates a l l others. For example, i t i s i n v a r i a b l y assumed that the ecoregion category i s dominated by the regional climate and that a l l other components are subordinate. Such an assumption negates the importance of factors which cause the regional climate such as physiography which govern the cli m a t i c regime such as geographical l o c a t i o n . Based on a l l these points i n the paragraph, a common d e f i n i t i o n for a l l categories would s u f f i c e . They could be considered as areas of land, of d i f f e r e n t orders of generalization, that possess a  recognized common i d e n t i t y based on th e i r inherent u n i f i e d pattern of  b i o l o g i c a l and physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . - 66 -Land ecosystems have been described by reference to a combination of ecosystem components. While a l l components have not been used in every land survey, the l i s t includes geomorphology, soils, vegetation, climate and water. The order of these components is not intended to imply importance but rather an indication of their currency in past studies. Under these general headings, particular "factors" have been employed to recognize either of the levels of generalization. The factors have been extracted from the material reviewed or, in selected cases, from material proposed for use. The individual factors are aligned with their respective level of generalization. The alignment is approximate and should not be considered immutable. Each factor can oscillate somewhat depending on the inherent variability of the natural environment in question or on the scale of observation. The factors for each level of generalization w i l l be briefly discussed. The ecoprovince corresponds to major structural or surface forms which can be portrayed on a map scale in the order of 1:5,000,000 to 1:10,000,000. The Fraser and Thompson Plateaux as identified by Holland (1964) and the Ogilvie Mountains as noted by Bostock (1965) would be representative. Climates would involve weather processes in the large scale synoptic classification (Munn, 1970). Vegetation and s o i l factors are general and can be equated respectively with vegetation zone (eg. Montane, Boreal) and great groups of soils (eg. Gray Luvisols) or with combination of the respective factors. Water factors are aligned to features such as major river basins. Table 4: Levels of generalization and t h e i r approximate p a r a l l e l with factors of recognition. : MAJOR ECOSYSTEM COMPONENTS LEVELS OF 1 GENERALIZATION 1 GEOMORPHOLOGY SOILS VEGETATION CLIMATE WATER SCOPROVINCE 1 Provinces Great Groups or Assemblages of Great Groups Plant Formation Macro major r i v e r basins SCOREGION I Regional Forms Assemblages of Subgroups Plant Region Regional large r i v e r basins 2C0DISTRICT 1 Associations of Local Forms Assemblages of S o i l Associations Groups of Plant Associations Local sub-basins ECOSECTION I Local Forms and Association of Local Forms S o i l Associations and Assemblages of S o i l Associations Plant Community or Associations Meso small watersheds and lakes ECOTYPE I Elements Series Plant Communities Micro subdivisions of r i v e r s , parts of small lakes - 68 -Ecoregions contains vegetation expressing gross similarities in physiognomy, structure and f l o r i s t composition. Arctic tundra, alpine tundra and lower subalpine groupings are examples. Geomorphic factors are regional coastal plains, drumlinized t i l l plains and small scale mountain ranges like the Richardson Mountains (Bostock, 1965). Soils coincide with associations of subgroups or occasionally with single subgroup generalizations. Climatic regimes are regional (Arlery et a l , 1973) and water factors correspond to large river basins. Scales of 1:1,000,000 to 1:3,000,000 are respresentative. Associations of local landforms (eg. Precambrian upland, marine plain) occur at the ecodistrict level. Soils are represented by groups of so i l associations and trends in subgroups whereas vegetation is represented by groups of plant associations or 'vegetation type' (Woo and Zoltai, 1977). These are broad aggregations of plant associations such as tussocks - low shrub, white spruce - Douglas f i r and dryas - lichen. Climatic regimes are related to local types (Arlery et a l , 1973) Sub-basins of rivers and aggregations of medium size lakes are included. Ecodistricts are lik e l y to be portrayed at scales nearing 1:250,000 to 1:1,000,000 Ecosections possess medium scale climatic factors. They can be classified as mesocale (Munn, 1970). Water factors correspond to small watersheds, segments of large rivers and vici n i t i e s surrounding large or medium scale lakes. Landforms consist of local forms or groups of local forms such as large deltas or portions of t i l l and marine plains. Vegetation is indexed to plant communities or associations. This may represent a definite chronosequence of vegetation or, in cases owing to scale limitations, complexes. These are based on f l o r i s t i c composition, - 69 -/ morphological structure and time r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Ecosections are i n the order of size that may be shown on maps of scales ranging from 1:100,000 to 1:250,000. Elements of or p a r t i c u l a r types of l o c a l landforms are expressive of ecotypes. They are also matched with s o i l s e r i e s , plant communities and micro-scale climates. Scales of 1:10,000 and infrequently up to 1:50,000 are expected i n mapping. Once recognized as a unit of a given rank i n the hierarchy, land ecosystems can assume d i f f e r e n t forms i n d i f f e r e n t cases. The form which i t takes has a bearing on the process of aggregating units into high l e v e l s of abstraction and on disaggregating units into lower l e v e l s of abstraction. While H i l l s (1976) comments on four forms, there are e s s e n t i a l l y two: the normal and the abnormal. The concepts involved here are synonymous with the notions of zonal and azonal regionalizations of the earth's surface. Normalized locales represent benchmark conditions. In most cases, these lo c a l e s are the most generally d i s t r i b u t e d and most frequently occuring forms. Their c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are adjusted to the dominant processes associated with the e c o l o g i c a l s e t t i n g . Consequently, they are c r u c i a l i n esta b l i s h i n g the l i n k s to higher and lower orders of generalization. Abnormal forms, by contrast, r e f l e c t locales which are unduly incluenced by extremes i n temperature, moisture, aeration and nutrients; H i l l s (1976) subdivides these forms into three types: internormal, extranormal and paranormal. Recognition c r i t e r i a express land ecosystems i n terms of thei r external q u a l i t i e s . They do not explain what these phenomena are, but merely furnish - 70 -the i n f r a s t r u c t u r e of what i s conceived as a ' c l e a r l y ' demarcated e c o l o g i c a l realm. From a purely s c i e n t i f i c standpoint, recognition factors are only secondary confirmatory proofs of a conceptualized e n t i t y a land ecosystem. The method of e s t a b l i s h i n g a land ecosystem i s often debated. Several i n v e s t i g a t o r s , e s p e c i a l l y those influenced by the Braun-Blanquet school of thought, acknowledge an a_ p r i o r i mode; others prefer the a posteri mode. However, l i k e the deductive and inductive l o g i c which each mode respectively represents, they are i n practise inseparable. Consequently, noting that a blend of each i s used would be more appropriate as working forward from known or assumed causes to e f f e c t s and vice versa are paths of l o g i c which are f r e e l y used throughout an e c o l o g i c a l land survey. - 71 -8.0 REFERENCES Airphoto Analysis Associates. 1975. Biophysical resource inventory: Gros Morne National Park. Vol. I, Parks Canada, Ottawa. 83p. American Geological I n s t i t u t e . 1962. Dictionary of geological terms. Dolphin Books, New York. 545p. Arlery, R. et a l . 1973. Climatologie, methodes et pratiques. Monographies de meteorologie. Gauthier-Villars Editeurs. Montreal. 434p. Barnett, D.M. 1977. Terrain characterization and evaluation: an example from eastern M e l v i l l e island. Paper 76-23. Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa 18p. B.C. Forest Land C l a s s i f i c a t i o n Subcommittee. 1968. Guidelines for bio-physical land c l a s s i f i c a t i o n (comp. by Kowall, R.C. and G.G. Runka). Canada Land Inventory, Misc. Rpt. Canada Land Inventory, Ottawa, Ontario. 27p. Beckett, P.H.T. and R. Webster. 1965. A c l a s s i f i c a t i o n system for t e r r a i n . M i l i t a r y Engng. Exp. Establ. Interim Rpt. No. 872, Christchurch, Hampshire, England. 247p. Bostock, H.S. 1965. Physiography of the Canadian C o r d i l l e r a , with special reference to the area north of the f i f t h - f i f t h p a r a l l e l . Mem. 247., Dept. Energy Mines and Resources, Geol. Sur. of Can. 106 p. Bourne, R. 1931. 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