Ecological Field Data Collection

ecological field data collection training courses

Ecological Field Data Collection is a three-day field and classroom-based course that introduces 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 includes 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.

Participants will be instructed on classifications and systems relevant to their forest district. See course dates and locations below.

Instructor: Price:
Prince George
Spring 2020 dates & locations to be announced

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)

1) General overview of course 2) Introduction to the Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) system 3) Macro scale influences on sub-zones which include factors affecting growing seasons, frost, wind, precipitation, snow, drought, succession and seral stage influences 4) BEC zones, subzones and variants 5) Eco-type site specific characteristics such as humus forms, soil texture, drainage, slope, aspect, topographic position, indicator plants 6) Diagnostic procedures such as humus form description, hand texturing soil, identifying indicator plant species 7) Site stratification using topographic maps and subzone guides.

Day 2 (Classroom and Field)

1) Indicator plant identification and significance 2) Introduction to field data collection and the FS39 Silviculture Prescription Plot Card 3) Sample plot demonstration by Instructor 4) Identifying Site, Understory, Overstory, Soils and Soil Hazard Assessment feature 5) Students practice field data collection. *Transportation to and from the field site is provided.

Day 3 (Classroom and Field)

1) Review of materials covered during Day 1-2 2) Introduction to the relationship between BEC and plant communities 3) Discuss “At Risk” plant communities 4) Questions and Answer -Introduce field assessment
5) Collect field data at predetermined field sites 6) Assessment of field data collection and cards by the Instructor 7) Overview of field work 8) Concluding remarks. *Transportation to and from the field site is provided.


Necessary Equipment

Students will be required to bring the following equipment: Hardhat and safety footwear (close-toed shoes), cruise vest, outdoor appropriate clothing, shovel, measuring tape, Suunto/clinometer, measuring tape, compass, pencils, field notebook (6 ring binder) and a photo-taking device. Optional items to bring: Phone/iPad to access documents provided digitally, Garmin/GPS unit for measuring elevation.

About the Instructor

Diana Gerdenits has extensive experience collecting ecological field data from BC’s coastal and interior subzones. She has collected field data (SP, SIBEC, SMP, TEM) for both, industry and government as well as conducted internal training in BEC skills. She specializes in soil and Red/Blue listed plant community identification. Presently she is an independent consultant (Gerdenits and Associates).