Research Branch

See below to download a PDF file.

A Field Guide to Ecosystem Classification and Identification for Haida Gwaii

Author(s) or contact(s): A. Banner, W.H. MacKenzie, J. Pojar, A. MacKinnon, S.C. Saunders, and H. Klassen
Source: Forests, Lands, and NR Operations
Subject: Ecosystems
Series: Land Management Handbook
Other details:  Published 2014. Hardcopy is available.


This field guide presents site classification and identification information for ecosystems of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia, following the Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) system (described in Chapter 2).

The objectives of this classification are as follows:

  • to provide a framework for organizing ecological information and management experience about ecosystems;
  • to promote a better understanding of ecosystems and their interrelationships;
  • to provide resource managers with a common language to describe ecosystems; and
  • to improve the users' ability to prescribe and monitor site-specific treatments.

For Haida Gwaii, this field guide replaces the previously published site identification field guide for the Vancouver Forest Region (Green and Klinka 1994). The classification presented in this guide differs from previous classifications in several important ways:

  • a new Haida Gwaii variant of the Coastal Western Hemlock Very Wet Hypermaritime subzone (CWHvh3) is described, and replaces the CWHvh2 on Haida Gwaii;
  • the variants of the Mountain Hemlock Wet Hypermaritime subzone (MHwh) that were previously called Windward and Leeward variants (MHwh1 and MHwh2, respectively) are treated as a single subzone (MHwh) specific to Haida Gwaii;
  • the mapping of biogeoclimatic units has been revised for Haida Gwaii: the CWHvh3/CWHwh1 boundary has been moved eastwards on northwestern Graham Island, and numerous other minor boundary and elevational shifts have been made;
  • the alpine of Haida Gwaii has been designated as the Coastal Mountain-heather Alpine Wet Hypermaritime subzone (CMAwh);
  • new provincial standards for the coding of site units are applied; and
  • non-forested ecosystems are described.

Download Land Management Handbook 68 PDF file (27,471 KB)

Cover-Chapter 3 (4547 KB)

Chapters 4-5 (2070 KB)

Chapter 6_CWHvh3 (4754 KB)

Chapter 6_CWHwh1 (4926 KB)

Chapter 6_CWHwh2 (3671 KB)

Chapter 6_MHwh (4025 KB)

Chapter 7 (646 KB)

Literature Cited and Appendices (3733 KB)

To view this document you need the current version of
Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free from the Adobe Web Site.

Updated May 1, 2014