Ecological Field Data Collection

The purpose of this three-day field and class based course is to introduce forestry practitioners to the theory and practice of Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC). Participants will learn basic BEC theory and the skills and techniques necessary to classify, describe and map eco-types. This course will include the identification of critical factors inherent to specific site edaphics and their implications for forest management. It will also include classification techniques for areas where the ingress of early seral species--due to clear cuts, wildfires and large scale forest health impacts--would render vegetative focused descriptions problematic.

Instructor: Price:

Course Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course, however, previous courses and/or experience in Forest Soils, Forest Botany, Dendrology, Hydrology and Forest Ecology are helpful.


Day 1 (Classroom)

General overview of course; Introduction to the Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) system; Macro scale influences on sub-zones which include factors affecting growing seasons, frost, wind, precipitation, snow, drought, succession and seral stage influences; BEC zones, subzones and variants; Eco-type site specific characteristics such as humus forms, soil texture, drainage, slope, aspect, topographic position, indicator plants; Diagnostic procedures such as humus form description, hand texturing soil, identifying indicator plant species; Site stratification using topographic maps and subzone guides.

Day 2 (Classroom and Field)

Indicator plant identification and significance; Deploy to field -Introduction to field data collection and the FS39 Silviculture Prescription Plot Card; Sample plot demonstration by Instructor; Identifying Site, Understory, Overstory, Soils and Soil Hazard Assessment features; Students practice field data collection.

Day 3 (Classroom and Field)

Review of materials covered during Day 1-2; Introduction to the relationship between BEC and plant communities; Discuss “At Risk” plant communities; Questions and Answer -Introduce field assessment; Deploy to the field; Collect field data at predetermined field sites; Assessment of field data collection and cards by the Instructor; Overview of field work; Concluding remarks.


Necessary Equipment

Students will be required to bring the following equipment: 1) PPE-hardhats and safety footwear 2) Shovel 3) Field Note book (6-ring binder) 4) Compass, Clinometer 5) Transportation (to and from field site) 6) Field Vest 7) Pens, Pencils