Site Index Estimates by BEC Site Series (SIBEC)

The Site Index by BEC Site Series - SIBEC Project (EP1215) is a long-term research project that has worked since 1994 to provide tree species site index estimates that reflect the average growth potential of tree species in forested site series in British Columbia.

British Columbia’s Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) system organizes our knowledge of ecosystems, and provides a framework within which to manage forest resources. This classification system has served as a foundation for forest management decisions for more than 20 years.

Since the 1990s, foresters and scientists have recognized that correlating BEC site factor information with measures of site productivity, or site index (SI), would greatly enhance our ability to manage certain forest stands and formed the basis for initiating the SIBEC Project (EP1215).

Data are collected to refine these relationships as first approximation site index class estimates are replaced by second generation-type estimates (mean plot site index and its standard error for each BEC site series/species combination that have a minimum sample size of 7). This new estimate replaces the first approximation (1997) site index class estimate only if the minimum sample size criterion is met. As more data are collected and added to the provincial data warehouse, the proportion of second generation-type estimates will increase.

There are two key SIBEC site index reports available (see Reports box):

  1. Site index estimates by biogeoclimatic unit for each forest region.
  2. Site index estimates by site series for each biogeoclimatic subzone/variant.

The site index estimates provided in these reports are currently a blend of first approximation and second generation-type estimates.

Background Information

The backgrounder document provides a detailed overview of the basics of site index, the development of the first and second generation-type site index estimates and how to use them.

Additional information related to SIBEC include the Custom Reports Tool and the Technical Report on the use of SIBEC in supporting forest management in British Columbia.