A relational database program for the management of large vegetation—environment datasets for ecosystem classification
Research Branch, Ministry of Forests,
Bag 5000, Smithers, British Columbia, Canada VOJ 2NO.
The biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification [EEC] program is the foundation for resource planning and management in British Columbia, Canada. The EEC system is based upon vegetation classification in the tradition of Braun-Blanquet with a focus on the classification of site potential.The EEC has a 30-year history and is currently based on more than 30,000 plot records; substantial additions occur every year. Each plot record contains detailed site,soils, and vegetation information.
Until recently, access to this large body of information has been impeded by a lack of suitable data management tools. Original mainframe-based systems used formatted-text flat files and, while useful for smaller projects, were unable to efficiently managelarge data sets and acquired data errors over time.
A freeware database program called Venus Professional (VPro) was designed by an ecologist-programmer team to facilitate access, management, and analysis of the EEC data. Emphasis was placed on maintaining the freedom of users to manipulate the data. VPro is written in Visual Easic for the widely available database software Microsoft Access". Data is stored in relational tables with relatively simple structure to allow easy access to data. Some features include:
VPro is specifically tailored to the sampling methodology and data requirements of the EEC program. However, its ability to manage large data sets in a systematic fashion has led to its use by individuals and organisations in other jurisdictions of Canada and the U.S.A.