Documentation Revision Date: 2018-12-31
Data Set Version: 1
This dataset includes two data files in *.csv format and one companion file containing selected vegetation plot photos.
Breen, A.L. 2018. Arctic Vegetation Plots in Burned and Unburned Tundra, Alaska, 2011-2012. ORNL DAAC, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA. https://doi.org/10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1547
Table of Contents
- Data Set Overview
- Data Characteristics
- Application and Derivation
- Quality Assessment
- Data Acquisition, Materials, and Methods
- Data Access
Data Set Overview
This dataset provides environmental and vegetation data collected in late June and July of 2011 and of 2012 from study plots located in tundra fire scars and adjacent unburned tundra areas on the Seward Peninsula and the northern foothills of the Brooks Range in Arctic Alaska. The surveys focused on upland tundra settings and provide information on vegetative differences between the burned and unburned sites. The sampling design established a chronosequence of sites that varied in time since last fire to better understand post-fire vegetation successional trajectories. Complete species lists and their cover abundance data are provided for both study areas. Environmental data include the baseline plot descriptive information for vegetation, soils, and site factors. No soil samples were collected.
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 (ABoVE) iis 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.
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.
Spatial Coverage: Northern foothills of the Brooks Range and the Seward Peninsula, Alaska
Domain: Core ABoVE
Grid cells: Ah0Av0, Ah1Av0, Ah0Av1, Ah1Av1
Region: Northern Alaska
Spatial Resolution: Point
Temporal Coverage: 20110714 - 20120730
Temporal Resolution: annual
Study Area: (All latitude and longitude given in decimal degrees)
|Site||Westernmost Longitude||Easternmost Longitude||Northernmost Latitude||Southernmost Latitude|
|North Slope and Seward Peninsula, Alaska||-164.686||-146.645||70.0887||65.361|
Data File Information
There are two data files with this dataset in comma-separated (.csv) format. The files provide plot environmental data, vegetation species as well as the percent ground cover occupied by the species.
Missing numeric data are reported as -9999 and missing text is reported as not available (n/a).
Table 1. Data and Companion Files
Data File Name
|tundra_fire_veg_plots_environmental_data.csv||Environmental characterization data|
|Species cover data in comma separated (.csv) format. Both the author's determination and the current taxonomy according to the Panarctic Species List (PASL)|
|Tundra_Fire_Veg_Plots_Photos.pdf||Collection of vegetation plot and transect photos.|
Data Descriptions: The column names, their units, and descriptions for each of the .csv data files are listed below.
Table 2. Data file tundra_fire_veg_plots_environmental_data.csv
- Several of the environmental data variables are all missing values. For instance, no soil samples were collected. These and other variables are included for completeness and consistency with other vegetation plot datasets and with Turboveg.
- Several fire-related variables are located near the end of the file.
|FIELD_RELEVE_NUMBER||Author's plot number or code if it differs from the reference for the species table.|
|LOCATION||Brief description of fire or unburned sampling area|
|DATE||yyyymmdd||Date plot was investigated|
|RELEVE_AREA_SQ_M||M2||Area of the relevé (m2). The field is left blank to indicate the plot had no boundaries or no estimate of the sampled area. -1 for irregular shape.|
|RELEVE_SHAPE||Shape of the relevé area. Necessary for judgements on ‘edge effects’. square (S), rectangle (R), linear/band-forming (L), circular (O), irregular (I), more subplots combined (C), unknown (not-recorded) (N).|
|COVERSCALE||%||Cover abundance scale. Percentage (%)|
|REPEAT_SAMPLED||Has the relevé been sampled more than once? (Y or N). Will change over time.|
|COLLECTION||Method used to collect vegetation-plot data. relevé (R), other (O).|
|COLLECTION_METHOD||If data were not collected using the relevé method, specify collection method and source.|
|SYNTAXON_CODE||Syntaxon name according to the Braun-Blanquet School. [All data are missing]|
|SYSTEM_FOR_PLANT_COMMUNITY_NAME||Field community name (FLD_NM)|
|PLANT_COMMUNITY_NAME||Original plant community name used by the author. Will specify the source of the name in the previous field.|
|REFERENCE_FOR_ SPECIES_DATA||Amy Breen|
|TABLE_NUMBER_FOR_SPECIES_DATA||Table number(s) in which species data occur in the reference for species data. [All data are missing]|
|NUMBER_OF_RELEVE_IN_TABLE||Relevé number in the species table in the reference for species data. [All data are missing]|
|REFERENCE_FOR_ENVIRONMENTAL_DATA||Main publication or data report from which the species data were taken. Amy Breen|
|TABLE_NUMBER_FOR_ENVIRONMENTAL_DATA||If environmental data are from a table, indicate table number(s) from the reference for environmental data. [All data are missing]|
|SUBZONE||BIOCLIMATIC_ SUBZONE||Arctic tundra bioclimate zone. Subzone A (A), Subzone B (B), Subzone C (C), Subzone D (D), Subzone E (E), Treeless Oceanic Boreal (O), Forest-Tundra Transition (FT), Boreal (BO)|
|REGION||Region as indicated by author. For example, could be land management unit, national park, or mountain range.|
|PHYSIOGRAPHIC_REGION_SOURCE||Source used for physiographic division.|
|GEOREFERENCE||yes||Are the relevés georeferenced? (Y or N).|
|GEOREFERENCE_SOURCE||GPS||Georeference source. GPS (GPS), Google Earth (GE), map (MAP), aerial photograph (PHOTO), None (NONE).|
|GEOREFERENCE_ACCURACY_M||Accuracy of georeference as recorded by GPS (m). If source differs, approximate accuracy (m).|
|LATITUDE||Decimal degrees||Latitude of the center of the plots|
|LONGITUDE||Decimal degrees||Longitude of the center of the plots|
|ALTITUDE_M||m||Elevation of relevé (m).|
|SLOPE_DEGREES||degrees||Slope of relevé (degrees).|
|ASPECT_DEGREES||degrees||Aspect of relevé (degrees). Aspect is measured counterclockwise in degrees from 0 (due north) to 360 (again due north, coming full circle). As a convention, use 360 degrees for north.|
|TOPOGRAPHIC_POSITION||flat elevated plain (includes plateaus and elevated river terraces) (EL_PLN); hill crest (CRST); shoulder (SHLD); backslope (BACK); footslope (includes toeslopes) (FOOT); flat low plain (LW_PLN); riparian zone (includes active floodplains, drainage channels, water tracks) (RIPZN); lake or pond (LAKE).|
|HABITAT_TYPE||Tentative Braun-Blanquet habitat as defined by classes.|
|SITE_MOISTURE||Site moisture. dry (DRY), moist (MST), wet (WET), aquatic/emergent (AQU), unknown (not recorded) (N).|
|DISTURBANCE||natural vegetation (NAT) or anthropologically disturbed (DIS).|
|ORGANIC_LAYER_DEPTH_CM||cm||Depth of organic layer (cm). [All data are missing]|
|SOIL_TEXTURE_TOP_MINERAL_HORIZON||Field estimate of texture at the top of the mineral horizon. Broad categories: gravel (GRV), sand (SND), silt (SLT), clay (CLY), loam (LOM), organic (if no mineral soil within the active layer) (ORG). All -9999|
|SOIL_PH_at_10_cm||pH of the soil within the plots. [All data are missing]|
|MOSSES_IDENTIFIED||y||Mosses identified? (Y or N).|
|LIVERWORTS_IDENTIFIED||y||Liverworts identified? (Y or N).|
|LICHENS_IDENTIFIED||y||Lichens identified? (Y or N).|
|VASCULAR_PLANT_TAXONOMIC_QUALITY||Subjective assessment of floristic quality by the party that submitted the plot. highest (1), high (2), high but incomplete (3), moderate (4), moderate and incomplete (5), low (6). ? Code=2|
|CRYPTOGAM_TAXONOMIC_QUALITY||Subjective assessment of taxonomic quality of the cryptogam data by the party that submitted the plot. highest (1), high (2), high but incomplete (3), moderate (4), moderate and incomplete (5), low (6). ?Code=2|
|COVER_TREE_LAYER_PERCENT||Tree cover (%). [All data are missing]|
|COVER_SHRUB_LAYER_PERCENT||Total shrub cover (%). [All data are missing]|
|COVER_TALL_SHRUBS_PERCENT||%||Percent of plot covered with tall shrubs. [All data are missing]|
|COVER_LOW_SHRUBS_PERCENT||%||Percent of plot covered with low shrubs. [All data are missing]|
|COVER_ERECT_DWARF_SHRUBS_PERCENT||%||Erect dwarf-shrub cover (%). [All data are missing]|
|COVER_PROSTRATE_DWARF_SHRUBS_PERCENT||Prostrate dwarf-shrub cover (%). [All data are missing]|
|COVER_GRAMINOIDS_PERCENT||%||Total graminoid cover (%).|
|COVER_TUSSOCK_GRAMINOIDS_PERCENT||%||Tussock graminoid cover (%). [All data are missing]|
|COVER_FORBS_PERCENT||%||Forb cover (%). [All data are missing]|
|COVER_SEEDLESS_VASCULAR_PLANTS_PERCENT||Seedless vascular plant (ferns, horsetails, club mosses) cover (%). [All data are missing]|
|COVER_MOSSES_LIVERWORTS_PERCENT||%||Bryophyte cover (%). [All data are missing]|
|COVER_LICHEN_LAYER_PERCENT||%||Lichen cover (%). [All data are missing]|
|COVER_CRUST||Biological soil crust cover (%). [All data are missing]|
|COVER_ALGAE_LAYER||Algae cover (%). [All data are missing]|
|COVER_BARE_SOIL||%||Bare soil, or unvegetated (%).|
|COVER_BARE_ROCK_PERCENT||Rock cover (%). [All data are missing]|
|COVER_OPEN_WATER_PERCENT||%||Water cover (%).|
|COVER_LITTER_LAYER_PERCENT||Litter cover (%).|
|COVER_TOTAL_PERCENT||%||Relative cover of vegetation (%). [All data are missing]|
|MEAN_CANOPY_HEIGHT_CM||cm||Mean height of the canopy within the stand (cm). [All data are missing]|
|MEAN_TREE_LAYER_HEIGHT_M||m||Mean height of the tree layer (m). [All data are missing]|
|MEAN_SHRUB_LAYER_HEIGHT_CM||cm||Mean height of upper shrub layer including tall and low shrubs (cm). [All data are missing]|
|MEAN_HERB_LAYER_HEIGHT_CM||cm||Mean height of herb layer including graminoids, forbs and dwarf shrubs (cm). [All data are missing]|
|MEAN_MOSS_LAYER_HEIGHT_CM||cm||Mean thickness of the moss layer including live and dead moss (cm). [All data are missing]|
|TIME_SINCE_LAST_FIRE||years||Year since last file. Unburned plots set to 250 years.|
|TIMES_BURNED||Number of time a plot has burned. Zero for unburned.|
|SUBSTRATE_BURN_SEVERITY||Very low, low, moderate, or high|
|VEGETATION_BURN_SEVERITY||Very low, low, moderate, or high|
|EVIDENCE_OF_FIRE_ON_TUSSOCKS||Yes or no|
|LIVE_SHRUB_CANOPY_HEIGHT_CM||cm||Height of the live shrub canopy (cm).|
|DEAD_SHRUB_CANOPY_HEIGHT_CM||cm||Height of the dead shrub canopy (cm).|
|GRAMINOID_CANOPY_HEIGHT_CM||cm||Height of the graminoid canopy (cm).|
|NUMBER_OF_LIVE_TUSSOCKS||Number of live tussocks in plot.|
|NUMBER_OF_DEAD_TUSSOCKS||Number of dead tussocks in plot.|
|SITE_MOISTURE||Site moisture: dry (DRY), moist (MST), wet (WET), aquatic/emergent (AQU), unknown or not recorded (N).|
|SITE_CONTOUR||Site contour. Shape of the surrounding landscape.|
|COVER_DOWN_DEAD_WOOD_PERCENT||%||Down dead wood cover (%)|
|COVER_STANDING_DEAD_WOOD_PERCENT||%||Standing dead wood cover (%)|
|REMARKS||Comments, if needed.|
Table 3. Variables in the file tundra_fire_veg_plots_species_data.csv
- The source of these data is personal communication from the author, although the North Slope plot data were published in a table in an online supplement to Jones et al. (2013). Species cover data are by percentage. 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 plot numbers are the author’s field plot numbers. The field plot numbers indicate the region sampled (NS=North Slope, SP=Seward Peninsula), fire scar sampled (abbreviated), and the number of the plot within the region sampled. Also provided are the Turboveg database accession number.
|Column Numbers||Column Name||Description|
|1||PASL_TAXON_SCIENTIFIC_NAME_NO_AUTHORS||Current Taxonomy according to the Panarctic Species List (PASL)|
|2||PASL_TAXON_SCIENTIFIC_NAME_WITH_AUTHOR(S)||Current Taxonomy according to the Panarctic Species List (PASL) includng authors names|
|4 to 68||Column headings are vegetation plots. See Vegetation plot name to location lookup -- Table 4.||
Species cover data are given as percentage.
Application and Derivation
Derived regional maps of these data will be used in regional models of fluxes of trace gases, water, and energy from tundra surfaces.
No specific quality assessment information provided.
Data Acquisition, Materials, and Methods
The vegetation associated with tundra fire scars and adjacent unburned areas on the Seward Peninsula and northern foothills of the Brooks Range in Arctic Alaska was surveyed in the field during late June and July 2011 and 2012.
The surveys focused on upland tundra settings and provide information on vegetative differences between burned and unburned sites. Unburned sites were selected that were moist tussock tundra dominated by tussock cottongrass, Eriophorum vaginatum, which is the most commonly burned vegetation community in Arctic Alaska. The burned sites were selected in areas of similar elevation and topography that were inferred to be moist tussock tundra pre-fire based on the presence and abundance of live or dead E. vaginatum tussocks. The tussocks, especially in the younger fire scars, showed evidence of charring at their base.
The sampling design established a chronosequence of sites that vary in time since last fire to better understand post-fire vegetation successional trajectories. While we cannot be certain plant communities followed the same post-fire successional pathway in this space-for-time substitution, we use the chronosequence approach as an exploratory method given there are few direct repeat post-fire observations in Arctic Alaska. Assessment of vegetation succession along the century-scale chronosequence of tundra are disturbances demonstrated for the first time on the North Slope of Alaska that tundra fires can facilitate the invasion of tundra by shrubs.
Figure 2. Locations of vegetation plots across the North Slope - Brooks Range and the Seward Peninsula.
Table 4. Vegetation plot name to location lookup table. The FIELD_RELEVE_NUMBER is composed of these 3 elements: Region_fire-abbreviation_Plot (e.g., NS-MEA-15 and NS-UNB-21)
|Region of Alaska||Fire abbreviation or UNB (unburned)||Plot(s)||REGION||LOCATION||Latitude (approx.)||Longitude (approx.)|
|NS||UNB||4-5||Arctic Foothills of the Brooks Range||Unburned tundra adjacent to Anaktuvuk River Fire||69.229||-151.166|
|NS||UNB||20-21||Arctic Foothills of the Brooks Range||Unburned tundra adjacent to DCKN Fire||69.967||-159.25|
|NS||AR||1-3||Arctic Foothills of the Brooks Range||Anaktuvuk River Fire||69.277||-150.716|
|NS||DCKN||17-19||Arctic Foothills of the Brooks Range||DCKN Fire||69.978||-159.083|
|NS||KOK||11-13||Arctic Foothills of the Brooks Range||Kokolik River fire||69.536||-161.869|
|NS||KET||8-10||Arctic Foothills of the Brooks Range||Ketik River Fire||70.089||-159.572|
|NS||MEA||14-16||Arctic Foothills of the Brooks Range||Meade River Fire||70.083||-157.156|
|NS||CHA||6-7||Arctic Foothills of the Brooks Range||Chandler River Fire||69.409||-151.499|
|SP||DEL||1-10||Seward Peninsula||Delome-71 Fire||65.46||-164.67|
|SP||MP2||11-15||Seward Peninsula||Milepost 85 Fire, Kougarok Road||65.43||-164.63|
|SP||MP3||16-20||Seward Peninsula||Milepost 85 Fire, Kougarok Road||65.43||-164.63|
|SP||FC||29-38||Seward Peninsula||Fish Creek Fire||65.85||-160.4|
|SP||FCU||39-43||Seward Peninsula||Fish Creek Unknown Fire||65.855||-160.41|
On the Seward Peninsula, 43 plots were established in tundra fire and unburned areas. Plots were 1 x 1 m in areas of homogenous vegetation. Complete species lists and their cover abundance were recorded along with baseline plot descriptive information for vegetation, soils, and site factors.
On the North Slope, 21 plots were surveyed for vegetation and baseline plot descriptive information for vegetation, soils, and site factors. Plant species and height were recorded every 1 m along 30 m transects. All taxa that touched the sampling pin were recorded as “hits”. Species adjacent to the transect, but not encountered, were also recorded. Percent cover was calculated by dividing the number of hits for each taxa by the total number of points along each transect. The taxa that were not encountered along the transect were given a rare cover abundance so that these plots also have complete species lists.
All but two plots occur in the habitat type, “Moist to wet acidic tussock and nontussock (Eriophorum vaginatum-Carex bigelowii-Sphagnum-Hylocomium) tundra”. The other two plots most closely resemble the “Moist nonacidic tundra (Sedge-Dryas-Tomentypnum communities)” habitat type, although there is evidence (dead tussocks) these plots were dominated by tussock tundra pre-fire.
Figure 3. Vegetation plot (SP-FC-37) at Fish Creek Fire site, eastern Seward Peninsula.
Original data from the northern foothills of the Brooks Range were published as part of a study of vegetation and permafrost-terrain characteristics that identified two large previously unrecognized tundra fires (Jones et al. 2013). Breen (2015) summarized her results from the Seward Peninsula and presented them at the American Geophysical Union’s annual fall meeting.
This dataset was edited and processed by Dr. Amy Breen and Lisa Druckenmiller and provided by the GINA repository at http://agc.portal.gina.alaska.edu/plot-archive/plot-datasets/34-tundra-fires
These data are available through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC).
Contact for Data Center Access Information:
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: +1 (865) 241-3952
Breen, A. L., T. Hollingsworth, M. Mack, B. Jones. Succession Stages of Tundra Plant Communities Following Wildfire Disturbance in Arctic Alaska. Abstract # B31C-0567. 2015 Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union. San Francisco, California. December 2015.
Jones, B. M., A. L. Breen, B. V. Gaglioti, D. H. Mann, A. V. Rocha, G. Grosse, C. D. Arp & D. A. Walker. 2013. Identification of unrecognized tundra fire events on the North Slope of Alaska. Journal of Geophysical Research 118: doi:10.1002/jgrg.20113