Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification Codes and Names

BECdb (Version 10, Sept 2016)

Introduction to BECdb

  British Columbia’s Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) system uses standardized nomenclature for its component ecosystem units.

  Standard BEC codes and names are required for many applications including spatial data (e.g., digital BGC maps, PEM maps, TEM maps, and Wildlife Habitat Interpretations), non-spatial data (e.g., BEC Master, SIBEC, Stem Analysis, Growth and Yield PSP's, Terrestrial Ecosystem Data warehouse, VRI, Silvicultural Plans and Interpretations, RESULTS, SPAR, EXPLORE and PROGNOSIS), and software (e.g., VENUS, VPRO, VTAB). Information systems such as RESULTS, SPAR, and PROGNOSIS, also need conversions to update from old to new BEC codes.

  BECdb is a relational database (Microsoft ACCESS 2010) that provides current, valid codes and names used in the BEC system, and the capability to easily extract whatever combination of codes a user is interested in.

  Research Branch is the custodian of BEC codes and therefore has the responsibility to meet the needs of clients both within and outside the Branch. BECdb is free, but is copyrighted by the B.C. Ministry of Forests.

Description of BECdb

  The database contains the core codes and names that make up the Zonal and Site Classification components of BEC, including Biogeoclimatic Zone, Subzone, Variant, and Phase, and Site Series, Site Series Phase and Site Variation. It also contains codes for some seral associations and units and an old-to-new code conversion table.

  The database contains the units that are in the most recent published or recognized field guides for each forest region (using the pre-2003 boundaries, as these are integral to the present field guides) or are in the most recent biogeoclimatic unit maps. The source document for each site unit code is also in the database (however, it has not yet been entered for archived site units). Any biogeoclimatic units that have been mapped in a region since the field guide was published have also been included, after verifying their validity with the Regional Ecologist.  In these cases, the site unit names and codes for the closest adjacent region were used in the database.  For example, codes from the old Vancouver Region were used for site units of the CWHds1 for the Kamloops Region.

  In a number of cases, two or more regions have published different site series numbers and/or names for the same BGC unit, or one region has site series that the other doesn't.  We have left these differences so that the database agrees with the field guides.  Over time these inconsistencies will be resolved.

Download BECdb

  The database can be downloaded here: (compressed ACCESS 2010 database)

  The database will be updated to coincide with mapping updates or whenever significant new biogeoclimatic classification guides are released. Check this site for updates or e-mail Will MacKenzie to be informed of any updates via e-mail.

Citation for the BECdb::

British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations. [year]. BECdb: Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification Codes and Names, Version [# ], [year]. [MSAccess 2010 format]. Forest Analysis and Inventory Branch, Victoria, B.C.  

Download Biogeoclimatic or Site Series Code Table

  Two of the tables of codes and names available in the database can be downloaded here (April 2017 Versions). Other tables of information are available in the database, including old-to-new conversion of codes and names and source references for codes and names.

  Biogeoclimatic units table: Excel format file containing names and codes for all presently recognized BGC units (zones, subzones, variants, and phases)

  Site series table: Excel format file containing names and codes for site series, site series phases, site variations, and seral units (note: some BGC units do not have site series classifications and codes)

What’s New

  Code changes to BECdb for each version are available here:

BECdb_Changes_ver 9 & 10 2017

BECdb_Changes_ver 8 2011

BECdb_Changes_ver 7 2008

BECdb_Changes ver 6 2006

BECdb_Changes ver 5_2004


  The Custodian of BEC codes is the director of Forest Analysis and Inventory Branch, B.C. Ministry of Forest, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations. Contact Will MacKenzie if you find mistakes, have suggestions for additions, or want to contact the BEC Custodian.