UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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


Ecological land classification refers to an integrated survey in which areas of land, as ecosystems, are classified according to their ecological unity. In Canada, the approach was first advanced, nationally, in 1969 and was termed 'Bio-physical Land Classification'. This approach, which was derived from several foreign and domestic precedents, has been employed by various independent survey organizations throughout Canada to secure an ecological data bases for 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 interests or capabilities. As such, the approach currently possesses a disparate character which is difficult to define singularly. To identify the current status in methodology, Canadian works in this field were comparatively analyzed. One result which stands out prominently from the analysis is that there are multifarious forms of ecological land classification. While they tend to achieve the same results, and demonstrate numerous commonalities land ecosystems have been manifested by combinations of criteria which are not always the same. Considerable confusion surrounds the nomenclature, the criteria for definitions and the criteria for recognition. Based on the analysis, hierarchical categories eco- province, ecoregion, ecodistrict, ecosection and ecotype are proposed. These are land ecosystems which possess a common recognized identity based on a unified pattern of biological and physical land characteristics. Each category coincides with a different order of generalization. Based largely on material extracted from past studies, criteria for recognition are stated.

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