The Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK)

NGEE Arctic scientists contribute to an international database of vegetation data from the Alaskan Arctic tundra

The Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA) was conceived with the goal of compiling plot-level vegetation data in order to better understand the distribution of plants across the Arctic tundra. Each Arctic nation is tasked with developing a portion of the evolving pan-arctic vegetation archive. The contribution from the United States, the Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK), was begun in 2013. To date, the AVA-AK contains more than 3000 vegetation plots from the Arctic portion of Alaska, with geo-referenced locations and associated environmental data ranging from slope and altitude, to edaphic conditions, to plot-level microrelief. The AVA-AK database is freely available through a web-based portal at the Alaska Arctic Geoecological Atlas ( housed at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. A preliminary cluster analysis of the data in the AVA-AK indicates the database can be used to predict patterns of vegetation composition across Alaskan tundra in relation to soil moisture and acidity, geography, and ecological affiliation. Furthermore, the data in the AVA-AK can provide a baseline of vegetation distribution across Arctic Alaska for use in terrestrial biosphere models. NGEE Arctic joined this international collaboration and contributed species and functional type cover, along with habitat and edaphic conditions, from vegetation censuses conducted during Phase 1 of NGEE Arctic at Intensive Site 1 on the Barrow Environmental Observatory in Barrow, AK. In Phase 2, NGEE Arctic will contribute data from the Seward Peninsula, AK, to help address existing gaps in the AVA-AK database (e.g., large areas of Arctic Alaska not associated with permanent Arctic observatories).   


Walker DA, AL Breen, LA Druckenmiller, LW Wirth, W Fisher, MK Raynolds, J Šibík, MD Walker, S Hennekens, K Boggs, T Boucher, M Buchhorn, H Bültmann, DJ Cooper, FJA Daniëls, SJ Davidson, JJ Ebersole, SC Elmendorf, HE Epstein, WA Gould, RD Hollister, CM Iversen, MT Jorgenson, A Kade, MT Lee, WH MacKenzie, RK Peet, JL Peirce, U Schickhoff, VL Sloan, SS Talbot, CE Tweedie, S Villarreal, PJ Webber, and D Zona. 2016. The Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK). Phytocoenologia 46: 221-229.


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Arctic Vegetation Archive

The Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA) is a circumpolar effort to assemble Arctic vegetation plot data into a publicly accessible web‐based archive and promote its application to northern issues, including a pan‐Arctic vegetation classification framework.

For more information, please contact:

Amy Breen