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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Plant associations within the subalpine mountain hemlock zone as indicators of recreational land use capability Eekman, Gordon Clifford Duncan

Abstract

This thesis is concerned with plant associations within the Subalpine Mountain Hemlock Zone as indicators of recreational land use capability. With the field recognition of approximately twenty plants (trees, tall shrubs, low shrubs, and ground plants) all the plant associations within this zone can be identified. Knowing the biogeoclimatic characteristics of the plant associations and the limitations of land for recreation, land use decisions concerning summer recreation can be made. The objectives are to develop criteria for rating the limitation of land for selected recreational activities; to summarize information about the plant associations and biogeoclimatic conditions found within the Subalpine Mountain Hemlock Zone of southwestern British Columbia for planning purposes; to assign capability ratings to land based on the biogeoclimatic characteristics of the plant associations and on the criteria for rating the limitation of land for recreational activities; and to illustrate how the capability ratings of plant associations for recreation can be used in recreation planning. This study is a response to the need for a simple, rapid, accurate, inexpensive, site specific approach to land use planning based on readily recognizable indicators. By identifying and mapping plant associations, a recreational land use capability distribution is made apparent. With such detailed site specificity, planners and natural resource managers can make rational decisions about land use based on the biogeoclimatic characteristics of plant associations and on the limitations of land for recreational activities. It is suggested that the land use planning approach presented in this thesis can be extended not only to other biogeoclimatic zones besides the Subalpine Mountain Hemlock Zone but also to other activities besides recreation.

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