Ecological Land Classification
To manage timber production without harming the health or the integrity of the forest ecosystem requires that ecosystems be delineated and described across the landscape. The Department of Natural Resources and Energy has developed an Ecological Land Classification System that divides the province into seven ecoregions. (footnote #22)
Ecoregions represent the different climatic regions of the province based on temperature and precipitation. These are further divided into 34 ecodistricts based on the differences in geology and soils within each of the seven ecoregions.. These ecodistricts are then divided further into ecosections based on differences in elevation and relief, and on the patterns and density of rivers and streams. Finally, ecosites are delineated in each ecodistrict based on differences in elevation, slope, and soil type. Ecosites are equivalent to different types of forest communities or stands (e.g. moist, rich hardwood dominated by sugar maple, beech & white ash; wet moderately rich mixed wood dominated by red maple, balsam fir and cedar etc). There are 94 different ecosites across the province.
Under this ecological land classification system, the basic unit of forest management planning would become the ecodistrict at the landscape level and the ecosite at the stand level as opposed to the current ten licences and the innumerable cut blocks within each.