Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification & TEM Mapping (BEC)


The Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification & Terrain Ecosystem Mapping (BEC) training program is a three-day applied review of the BEC procedure, field applications, and classifying and mapping ecosystems.  The BEC program advances participant’s knowledge to successfully complete a BEC classification and mapping project.

The BC-based BEC procedure is an integrated hierarchical classification scheme that considers climate, vegetation, and site classifications to produce a detailed description of ecosystems at three levels of integration; regional, local, and chronological.

Each NRTG course includes free, lifetime admission. Enroll once - come back anytime.



Upon successful completion, BEC participants will be qualified and able to: 

  • Describe ecosystem concepts and the role of the biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification system

  • Identify common rock forming minerals that influence soil moisture and nutrients

  • Identify bedrock and coarse fragment lithology that influence soil moisture and nutrients

  • Conduct landform classification using the terrain classification notation

  • Conduct soil texturing and estimating coarse fragment content

  • Conduct humus form classification

  • Identify common plant indicators of soil moisture and nutrients

  • Describe forest stand succession and structural stage classification

  • Establish ecosystem plots

  • Identify 15-20 common indicator plants

  • Estimate percent cover of vegetation

  • Estimate and calculate SNR and SMR

  • Conduct BEC site series classification procedures

Course format: 

The 24-hour (three-day) BEC course is delivered weekdays over three consecutive days.  The BEC course delivery ‘season’ will vary by region, as the program requires suitable field conditions (unfrozen soils, no snow cover, 'ideally' with intact vegetation, etc.). 

The BEC course is three-days in duration and is equally split between classroom and field-based presentations, exercises and assignments.  Each course day includes classroom and field sessions, and participants should come prepared each day to spend time in field settings.

Day 1

AM (classroom)

  • Ecosystem concepts

  • Common rock forming minerals

  • Bedrock and coarse fragment lithology

  • Landform and terrain classifications

PM (field)

  • Coarse fragment and bedrock lithology

  • Soil texturing

  • Soil pit analysis

  • Landform classification

Day 2

AM (classroom)

  • Theoretical component of the BEC system

  • Indicator plants and BEC/ Common indicator plants in Okanagan

  • Forest succession and structural stage classification

  • BEC site series classification tools

  • Introduction to the SIVI Form (FS1333) (Field Manual for Describing Terrestrial Ecosystem LMH #25 2nd ed.)

  • PM (field)

  • Plant ID skills

  • Common indicator plants

Day 3

AM (classroom)

  • Terrestrial Ecosystem Mapping overview (for field data collection)

  • Survey transects and route planning

  • Field gear logistics and preparation for fieldwork

AM/PM (field)

  • Locating sample polygons in the field

  • Navigation to sample sites

  • Selecting representative sample sites in the field

  • SIVI data collection standards

Potential Students: 

Course participants typically include; current ecology, biology and/or forestry professionals and technicians, Aboriginal stakeholders, and technicians working in other sectors that are required to complete a BEC classification project.



Personal Equipment Requirements:

Course participants are required to provide their own personal protective equipment:  standard survey (cruising) vest, sturdy hiking boots, suitable field clothing (including rain gear), gloves, safety glasses, and hard hat (if required by client), clinometer, handheld compass with declination set, handheld GPS. Also, students should purchase (and can share):

  • A waterproof copy of Land Management Handbook #25 ‘Field Manual Field Manual for Describing Terrestrial Ecosystems 2nd edition

  • An appropriate Plant ID field book, such as ‘Plants of Southern Interior of BC’ or ‘Trees, Shrubs and Flowers to know in BC and Washington’ by CP Lyons

Course Fees:

Course fees will vary by course delivery location.  For further information, please contact us.

How do I Attend?

The BEC course is delivered on contract to community groups, companies or organizations.  Individuals interested in attending a BEC delivery are advised to contact us, where we'll provide potential BEC delivery dates and locations to attend. 

If you would like to have the BEC training program delivered to your group or community, please consider the following:

  • Contact us well in advance of your preferred course start date

  • If applicable, secure program funding

  • Recruit course participants (most NRTG courses have minimum enrollments of 8-10 participants)

  • Coordinate course participant equipment, classroom facility, and contractual agreement with NRTG.

If you would like to have the BEC training program delivered to your group or community, please contact us. 

Instructor Profile: 

Morgan Brown, RFT

Forestry Professional

Morgan is a high-regarded forestry professional, having 30+ years experience managing forestry, silviculture, terrain stability, biophysical inventories and wildlife management projects on behalf of industry consultants, forest licensees,  BC Parks, other government, and First Nations groups throughout B.C.  

Morgan teaches a number of NRTG programs, and is also an Avalanche skills/Rescue instructor.

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