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Southern Interior Forest Region Range Reference Areas

Range Reference Areas are permanent installations designed to monitor the impact of livestock, wildlife and other disturbances on rangelands. Range Reference Areas (RRA's) consist of photo points, unfenced transects and fenced exclosures.

The RRA Program is co-ordinated by the Ministry of Forests with funding from many Ministries and agencies and has the following goals:

  • Define Potential Natural Communities in support of Range Use Planning.
  • Establish a Provincial compilation of Potential Natural Community descriptions.
  • Establish a provincial system of Range Reference Areas.
  • Monitor plant community changes.
  • Share range inventory information with range program staff, other government agencies, and the public.

Range Reference Area Types
Three types of RRA's are found in the Southern Interior Region:

  • Photo points. These are permanently marked sites that will be re-photographed through many years. A brief vegetation description is made at each photo taking.
  • Permanent vegetation plots. These are permanently marked plots that include an area for more rigorous vegetation monitoring as well as a photo point.
  • Exclosures. These are small (usually 1 hectare) areas fenced so there is no livestock use inside of them. Plots for determining vegetation cover are done inside and out side of the exclosure and photo points are done on the vegetation plots. Re-measurement and photo taking happens through many years. Most exclosures exclude livestock and allow some wildlife use while a few also exclude large wildlife.

About 30 of the RRA's in this Atlas were developed under the auspices of the FRBC Range Reference Areas Program; the others were built before or after with other agency funding. Many of the exclosures were established for other reasons by other Agencies but are useful for the RRA program.

RRAs have had many different monitoring processes. The standard for monitoring in the future at permanent plots and exclosures is:

  • Site description (elevation, biogeoclimatic classification, soils, slope, aspect etc.)
  • Permanent transects established (inside and out)
  • Plant cover estimates of grasses, flowers and small shrubs using the Daubenmire method (50 per macroplot) or Point Intercept method (500 per macroplot, as well as estimates of litter, bare ground and cryptograms.
  • Cover of trees and tall shrubs using the Line intercept measurement method.
  • Permanent photo points, normally 3 per macroplot

All of this material is kept on file at the Ministry of Forests Southern Interior Regional Office in Kamloops and in the District offices.
A contact person is listed for each RRA for further details on the specific site and monitoring data.

For general information contact the Regional office:
Rick Tucker
Range Agrologist
Southern Interior Forest Region

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