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Arctic Vegetation Plots, Northern NWT and YT, Canada, 1965-1966

Documentation Revision Date: 2018-02-14

Data Set Version: 1

Summary

This dataset provides vegetation, soil, and plot characteristics for 154 study plots located at three sites across the Richardson Mountains, Northwest Territories (NWT), and the British Mountains, Yukon Territory (YT). Study sites in the NWT included areas near Canoe Lake and Divided Lake; the study site in the YT was near Trout Lake. Specific attributes include dominant vegetation, species cover, and the physical characteristics of the plot areas. A soil pit was dug at each plot and the physical and chemical characteristics were determined for soil horizons. The data were collected in June, July, and August of 1965 and July and August of 1966.

The plots were subjectively located in 14 broad plant communities and six broad habitat types. Topographically, the two areas were dissimilar, but had similar environmental conditions and plant community types.

There are two data files with this dataset in comma-separated (.csv) format.

Figure 1. Lake shore vegetation at Canoe Lake. In the foreground is Arctophiletum fulvae, bordered by a band of Eriophorum scheuchzeri. The cut bank supports Salix pulchra. Photo from Lambert (1968).

Citation

Lambert, J.D.H. 2018. Arctic Vegetation Plots, Northern NWT and YT, Canada, 1965-1966. ORNL DAAC, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA. https://doi.org/10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1543

Table of Contents

  1. Data Set Overview
  2. Data Characteristics
  3. Application and Derivation
  4. Quality Assessment
  5. Data Acquisition, Materials, and Methods
  6. Data Access
  7. References

Data Set Overview

This dataset provides vegetation, soil, and plot characteristics for 154 study plots located at three sites across the Richardson Mountains, Northwest Territories (NWT), and the British Mountains, Yukon Territory (YT). Study sites in the NWT included areas near Canoe Lake and Divided Lake; the study site in the YT was near Trout Lake. Specific attributes include dominant vegetation, species cover, and the physical characteristics of the plot areas. A soil pit was dug at each plot and the physical and chemical characteristics were determined for soil horizons. The data were collected in June, July, and August of 1965 and July and August of 1966. The Plots were subjectively located in 14 broad plant communities and six broad habitat types. Topographically, the two areas were dissimilar, but had similar environmental conditions and plant community types.

The Pre-ABoVE vegetation plot datasets were curated to create the Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK; Walker et al. 2016b, Walker 2013)  The AVA-AK is a regional database that is part of the larger Arctic Vegetation Archive (Walker 2016a, Walker et al. 2013, Walker and Raynolds 2011).  The database contains vegetation plots from homogeneous plant communities with tables of cover or cover-abundance scores for all species, and accompanying environmental site data.  Field data were collected using Braun-Blanquet, US National Vegetation Classification protocols, or comparable methods.

Project: Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)

The Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment is a NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program field campaign that will take place in Alaska and western Canada between 2016 and 2021. Climate change in the Arctic and Boreal region is unfolding faster than anywhere else on Earth. ABoVE seeks a better understanding of the vulnerability and resilience of ecosystems and society to this changing environment.

Acknowledgements:

These data files were edited by Donald A. Walker, Amy L. Breen and Lisa A. Druckenmiller at the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Alaska Geobotany Center and obtained via the Arctic Geoecological Atlas (http://arcticatlas.geobotany.org/), which provides access to existing Arctic vegetation plot and map data in support of the ABoVE campaign.

Data Characteristics

Spatial Coverage: Canoe Lake and Divided Lake in the Richardson Mountains, Northwest Territories, and Trout Lake in the British Mountains, Yukon Territory

           ABoVE Grid Location: Ahh1Avv0Bh4Bv5

Spatial Resolution: Point resolution

Temporal Coverage: 1965-06-09 to 1966-08-13

Temporal Resolution: Each plot was visited only once

Study Area (All latitude and longitude given in decimal degrees)

Site Westernmost Longitude Easternmost Longitude Northernmost Latitude Southernmost Latitude
Canoe Lake and Divided Lake in the Richardson Mountains, Northwest Territories, and Trout Lake in the British Mountains, Yukon Territory -138.748 -135.697 68.82445 68.22028

 

Data File Information: There are two data files with this dataset in comma-separated (.csv) format.

Table 1. Data  files

Data File Name Descriptions
Canadian_West_Arctic_Species_Data.csv The estimated percent land cover by species per plot
Canadian_West_Arctic_Environmental_Data.csv Comprehensive set of environmental characterization data

 

Data Descriptions: The column names, their units and descriptions for each of the *.csv data files are listed below.

Table 2. Variables in the data file Canadian_West_Arctic_Species_Data.csv

These files contain species cover data for the vegetation plots. Both the author's determination and the current taxonomy according to the Panarctic Species List (PASL) are listed. Taxa are listed in alphabetical order according to the accepted PASL name. The data accession numbers from the Turboveg database are also included.

Column number Column header Description
1 PASL_taxon_scientific_name Current nomenclature according to the Panarctic Species List (PASL)
2 PASL_taxon_scientific_name_author Current nomenclature according to the Panarctic Species List (PASL) with the data authors name
3 dataset_taxon Dataset taxonomy
4-156 TURBOVEG_plot_accession_number and dataset_plot_number_author

Two rows of column headers which are plot numbers/accession numbers. The first row is TURBOVEG accession numbers. Column headers for TURBOVEG accession numbers: 3001-3154. The 2nd row is dataset_plot_number_author, column headers are 1-182. The  species cover classes follow the Braun-Blanquet (BB) scale:

r = rare

+ = common, but less than 1 percent cover

1 = 1 to 5 percent

2 = 6 to 25 percent

3 = 25 to 50 percent

4 = 51 to 75 percent

5 = 76 to 100 percent

Data file note: In four instances, taxa were lumped into a single taxon in the PASL: 1) Bryum pseudotriquetrum (Bryum bimum and Bryum pseudotriquetrum), 2) Calliergon trifarium (Calliergon trifarium and Psuedocalliergon trifarium), 3) Carex riishirensis (Carex montanensis and Carex podocarpa), and 4) Pohlia nutans (Pohlia nutans and Pohlia rutilans).

Table 3. Variables in the data file Canadian_West_Arctic_Environmental_Data.csv

 

Column number Variable Units/format Description
1 date yyyymmdd Date plot was investigated
2 plot_id numeric Plot number as provided by the author
3 locality   Site location: Canoe Lake, Divided Lake, or Trout Lake
4 longitude   Longitude of plot. Georeference of general study areas at Canoe Lake, Divided Lake, and Trout Lake provided from Google Earth
5 latitude   Latitude of plot. Georeference of general study areas at Canoe Lake, Divided Lake, and Trout Lake provided from Google Earth
6 plot_area m2 Area of the plots
7 elevation m Elevation
8 slope_gradient degrees Plot slope- the average inclination of the ground surface from the horizontal plane
9 exposure degrees The topographic position of the plot in relation to a particular cardinal point
10 land_form   Describes the old land surface topography
11 relief_profile   A profile of the surface shape of the sample plot (concave, convex, hummocky, flat)
12 duration_snow months An estimate of the snow duration from observations. The length of time between snowfall remaining in the fall and complete melt from the plot surface in late spring or anytime during the summer
13 soil_drainage   Soil drainage observations (well drained, poor, impeded. moderate)
14 soil_hygrotope   The moisture regime status of the plots studied in the Low Arctic Sub-alpine/Foothill Zone. Refers to hygrotope classes. Refer to the companion file Canadian_WestArctic_Lambert_1968.pdf provided with this dataset for additional information on the classes
15 thaw_depth cm Thaw depth (active layer depth)
16 ph_organic layer   pH of the soil organic layer
17 ph_organic_mineral_layer   pH of the soil organic mineral layer
18 ph_mineral_layer   pH of the soil mineral layer
19 plant_association   Plants associated with soils and habitat
20 cover_mosses % Percent of mosses in the plant community
21 cover_lichen % Percent of plot that was lichen
22 cover_rock % Percent of plot that was rock
23 cover_water % Percent of plot that was open water

Data User Note:  Additional soil chemistry data are available in Lambert (1968) that is provided as a companion file.

 

Companion Files: There are two companion files with this dataset in .pdf format.

Table 4. Companion files

File name Description

Canadian_West_Arctic_Lambert_1968.pdf

A report providing detailed information of the study by J. Lambert, 1968

Canadian_West_Arctic_Plot_Photos.pdf

Photos of the study areas by J. Lambert, 1968

 

Application and Derivation

These data and information could be useful to climate change studies.

Quality Assessment

Refer to the companion file Canadian_West_Arctic_Lambert_1968.pdf for quality assurance information.

Data Acquisition, Materials, and Methods

Site description

The study sites included Canoe Lake and Divided Lake in the Richardson Mountains, Northwest Territories, and Trout Lake in the British Mountains, Yukon Territory, in the subalpine/foothill zone in northern Canada. The area is 10 to 110 miles wide, being narrow in front of the British and Richardson Mountains and extending inland.

The topography at Trout Lake is very irregular. The lake is three miles long and half a mile wide, and lies in a shallow basin formed by shale erosion. The area has a closed system pingo, low-centered polygons around the pingo, and tundra mudflow. The terrain around Trout Lake is more regular than Canoe Lake and is related to the homogeneity of the bedrock. The more elevated areas are dry with only sparse vegetation.  West of the lake are low-centered polygons. Topographically, the two areas are dissimilar, but the environmental conditions and majority of plant community types are similar and common to both (Lambert, 1968).

site map

Figure 2. Location map of the study sites.

Plot characterization

Vegetation plot data were collected in June, July, and August of 1965 and July and August of 1966. One hundred fifty-four plots were subjectively located across the study areas. Depending on the vegetation type, sample plots varied between 16, 25 and 100 square meters. Sample plots were not permanently marked.

Plots were located in 14 broad plant communities and six broad habitat types including:  

(1) willow shrub vegetation of riparian areas and warm habitats (13 plots),

(2) sedge grass and dwarf shrub mire and fen vegetation (27 plots),

(3) bog vegetation, acidic mires including tussock tundra (32 plots),

( 4) deep snowbed vegetation (20 plot),

(5) dry to moist dwarf-shrub heath and low shrub vegetation on acidic nutrient poor substrates (48 plots), and

(6) dry and mesic dwarf-shrub and graminoid vegetation on non-acidic substrates (14 plots).

The cover of vascular and nonvascular plant species was originally recorded according to the cover abundance scale developed by Krajina (1933). For the Turboveg database, the original species cover classes were converted to follow the old Braun-Blanquet (BB) scale as listed in Table 2.  Plant cover by percent is also recorded in the environmental data file.

Table 7. The cover abundance scale developed by Krajina (1933) and originally used by the author:

1 = sporadic
2 = 0 to 1 percent
3 = 1 to 5 percent
4 = 5 to 10 percent
5 = 10 to 25 percent
6 = 25 to 33 percent
7 = 33 to 50 percent
8 = 50 to 75 percent
9 = 75 to 99 percent
10 = 100 percent

 

plot

Figure 3. Study site vegetation: Betulo-Eriphoretum vaginati (salicetosum reticulatae) (Photo from Lambert, 1968).

Soil characterization

A soil pit was dug at each study plot. This dataset provides the pH and drainage observations. In addition, thaw depth (the depth of the active layer) was recorded for most study plots. For additional information regarding soil data, refer to the companion file Canadian_West_Arctic_Lambert_1968.pdf provided with this dataset.

Data Access

These data are available through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC).

Arctic Vegetation Plots, Northern NWT and YT, Canada, 1965-1966

Contact for Data Center Access Information:

References

Krajina, V. 1933. Die Pflanzengesellschaften des Mlynica-Tales in den Vysoké Tatry. Beih. Bot. Cbl., Dresden 50: 1–224.

Lambert, J.D.H. 1968. The ecology and successional trends of tundra plant communities in the Low Arctic Subalpine Zone of the Richardson and British Mountains of the Canadian Western Arctic. Ph.D. thesis. University of British Columbia, Canada.

Walker, D.A., Daniëls, F.J.A., Alsos, I., Bhatt, U.S., Breen, A.L., Buchhorn, M., Bültmann, H., Druckenmiller, L.A., Edwards, M.E., Ehrich, D. and Epstein, H.E., 2016. Circumpolar Arctic vegetation: a hierarchic review and roadmap toward an internationally consistent approach to survey, archive and classify tundra plot data. Environmental Research Letters, 11(5), p.055005. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/11/5/055005

Walker, D. A.; A. L. Breen; L. A. Druckenmiller; L. W. Wirth; W. Fisher; M. K. Raynolds; J. Šibík; M. D. Walker; S. Hennekens; K. Boggs; T. Boucher; M. Buchhorn; H. Bültmann; D. J. Cooper; F. J.A Daniëls; S. J. Davidson; J. J. Ebersole; S. C. Elmendorf; H. E. Epstein; W. A. Gould; R. D. Hollister; C. M. Iversen; M.T. Jorgenson; A. Kade; M. T. Lee; W. H. MacKenzie; R. K. Peet; J. L. Peirce; U. Schickhoff; V. L. Sloan; S. S. Talbot; C. E. Tweedie; S. Villarreal; P. J. Webber; D. Zona. The Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive. 2016b. https://doi.org/10.1127/phyto/2016/0128

Walker, D.A. (Ed). Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive Workshop, Boulder, Colorado, October 14-16, 2013. CAFF Proceedings Report #11. Akureyri, Iceland. ISBN: 978-9935-431-29-5.

Walker, D. A., A. L. Breen, M. K. Raynolds, and M. D. Walker, editors. 2013. Arctic Vegetation Archive Workshop, Krakow, Poland April 14-16, 2013. CAFF Proceedings Report #10. Akureyri, Iceland. ISBN: 978-9935-431-24-0.

Walker, D. A., and M. K. Raynolds. 2011. An International Arctic Vegetation Database: A foundation for panarctic biodiversity studies. CAFF Strategy Series Report nr. 5. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), Akureyri, Iceland.