Classifying the Natural World

There are many different kinds of forests across British Columbia. Each forest has its own unique combination of plants, soil and climate. Large geographical areas with similar plants, soil and climate are called biogeoclimatic zones. British Columbia is divided into 14 of these biogeoclimatic zones.

These biogeoclimatic zones are further divided into many different types of ecosystems that have similar soils, landscape features and plants. In order to understand the variety of ecosystems that occur in the province, researchers have spent many years studying the soils and plants of each ecosystem.

By describing and naming ecosystems, we provide a framework for managing our resources ecologically. Classifying ecosystems has many uses in forestry. It can help foresters recommend site preparation methods that minimize damage to the soil and select trees that are ecologically suited to the site where they will be planted. It can also be useful for wildlife habitat management and conservation planning.

Boreal forest

In the northern boreal forests of British Columbia, fire
has played an important role in shaping the landscape patterns.

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