Arctic Vegetation Archive

Attigun River Canyon, Alaska

Addressing biodiversity questions in the Arctic is a challenging task because there are large gaps in the information on vegetation patterns, which are essential to quantify species-environmental relationships and make ecosystem-level predictions. Data from a large body of vegetation plot data that have been collected across the Arctic during the past century would provide a key missing link required to derive predictive models of future distributions under different climate-change scenarios. The goal of the International Arctic Vegetation Database is to unite and harmonize the vegetation data from the Arctic Tundra Biome for use in developing a panarctic vegetation classification and for use in research on climate and biodiversity. This open access database would be the first to represent an entire global biome.

The Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA) is a circumpolar effort to assemble Arctic vegetation plot data into a publically accessible web‐based archive and promote its application to northern issues, including a pan‐Arctic vegetation classification framework (Walker 2014). The project is endorsed by the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and was launched in 2013 with an international workshop in Krakow (Walker et al. 2013). During this meeting two prototype databases were initiated for Greenland and Alaska.

The Alaska-AVA project was organized during a workshop in Boulder, Colorado (Walker et al. 2014) is part of the Alaska Arctic Geoecological Atlas housed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The Alaska-AVA is supported by NASA in preparation for the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE). The Greenland-AVA project is in progress under the leadership of Fred Daniels and Helga Bültmann at the University of Münster (Bültmann and Daniëls, 2013). Other current progress is being made to develop a vegetation archive for the Yamal Peninsula region in Russia as part of a NASA-sponsored Land Cover Land Use Change project (Ermokhina 2013).

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