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Field Manual for Describing Terrestrial Ecosystems - 2nd edition

Author(s) or contact(s): BC Ministry of Forests and Range and BC Ministry of Environment
Source: Research Branch
Subject: Ecosystems
Series: Land Management Handbook
Other details:  Published 2010. Hardcopy is available.


British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Range and British Columbia Ministry of Environment. 2010. Field manual for describing terrestrial ecosystems. 2nd ed. Forest Science Program, Victoria, B.C. Land Manag. Handb. No. 25.

Previous versions of this document are available at:
1980 - LMR007 (PDF file 8.81mb)
1990 - MR074 (PDF file 12.3mb)
1998 - LMH25 first edition (PDF file 990 kb)

This manual has been prepared to assist field surveyors in the completion of the Ecosystem Field Forms, including site, soil, vegetation, mensuration, wildlife habitat assessment, tree attributes for wildlife, and coarse woody debris data forms. These are a series of forms for the collection of ecological data in British Columbia.

The field manual is organized by section - one for each data form. The forms, as a package, are called Ecosystem Field Forms (FS882). The forms can be ordered from Government Publications (1-800-663-6105) and are numbered as follows:

Site DescriptionFS882(1)   SITE
Soil DescriptionFS882(2)SOIL
Wildlife Habitat AssessmentFS882(5)WHA
Tree Attributes for WildlifeFS882(6)TAW
Coarse Woody DebrisFS882(7)CWD
Site VisitFS1333SIVI

The forms are designed to be used in various inventories; for example, ecosystem classification, terrestrial ecosystem mapping, and wildlife habitat assessment. Not all the data fields on all the forms will be completed on every sample plot. Rather, project objectives will determine which forms and fields need to be completed. Likewise, project objectives will determine where and how plots are located.

The field manual follows Describing Ecosystems in the Field (Luttmerding et al. 1990) and the Field Manual for Describing Terrestrial Ecosystems (Province of British Columbia 1998); however, it has been updated to accommodate new field forms and updates to code standards and inventory requirements. The forms evolved from the B.C. Ministry of Forests and Range Ecological Classification Reconnaissance Form, the larger, more detailed forms in Luttmerding et al. (1990), and the Vegetation Resource Inventory forms (Resources Inventory Committee 1997).

As this is a field manual, the descriptions have been kept as brief as possible. Other supporting references, such as Luttmerding et al. (1990), Green et al. (1993), Howes and Kenk (1997), and Agriculture Canada Expert Committee on Soil Survey (1998), among others, will be required if the user is not already familiar with their contents. See References for a complete list of complementary documents.

Download Land Management Handbook 25 edition 2 (PDF) (8372 KB)

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Updated March 02, 2011