Ministry of Forests

Cariboo Region Research Section

Ecosystems of British Columbia


This report describes terrestrial ecosystems of British Columbia within the framework of the British Columbia Ministry of Forests' biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification. This system of classification is widely used in British Columbia and gives foresters, biologists, agrologists, other resource managers, and naturalists a common framework for a fundamental knowledge of landscape ecology. It thus provides a basis for ecosystem management and other practical decision-making.

Readers interested in specific applications of the classification should consult the appropriate regional field guides and reports published by the B.C. Ministry of Forests. Here we merely introduce the philosophy, principles, and methods of biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification, and give the reader some appreciation of the diversity of terrestrial ecosystems in British Colllmbia. We also want to reinforce the concept of the ecosystem as the fundamental unit of ecology and management.

Over the past 15 years, an enormous amount of new information about forest ecology in British Columbia has been gathered; ecosystem classification has become institutionalized; and several changes, modifications, and refinements have been made to previous schemes. Although outlined in Pojar (1983), much of the following information is new or updated.

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