A raster version of the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM)

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Martha K. Raynolds, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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  • Donald A. Walker, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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  • Andrew Balser, AECOM Environment
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  • Christian Bay
  • Mitch Campbell, Nunavut Department of Environment
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  • Mikhail M. Cherosov, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • Fred J.A. Daniëls, University of Münster
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  • Pernille Bronken Eidesen, The University Centre on Svalbard
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  • Ksenia A. Ermokhina, Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • Gerald V. Frost, ABR Inc. Environmental Research and Services
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  • Birgit Jedrzejek, University of Münster
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  • M. Torre Jorgenson, Alaska Ecoscience
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  • Blair E. Kennedy, Environment and Climate Change Canada
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  • Sergei S. Kholod, Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • Igor A. Lavrinenko, Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • Olga V. Lavrinenko, Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • Borgþór Magnússon, Icelandic Institute of Natural History
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  • Nadezhda V. Matveyeva, Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • Sigmar Metúsalemsson, Icelandic Institute of Natural History
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  • Lennart Nilsen, Universitetet i Tromso
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  • Ian Olthof, Natural Resources Canada
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  • Igor N. Pospelov, Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • Elena B. Pospelova, Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • Darren Pouliot, Natural Resources Canada
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  • Vladimir Razzhivin, Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • Gabriela Schaepman-Strub, University of Zürich
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  • Jozef Šibík, Institute of Botany Slovak Academy of Sciences
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  • Mikhail Yu Telyatnikov, Central Siberian Botanical Garden, SB RAS
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  • Elena Troeva, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Land cover maps are the basic data layer required for understanding and modeling ecological patterns and processes. The Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM), produced in 2003, has been widely used as a base map for studies in the arctic tundra biome. However, the relatively coarse resolution and vector format of the map were not compatible with many other data sets. We present a new version of the CAVM, building on the strengths of the original map, while providing a finer spatial resolution, raster format, and improved mapping. The Raster CAVM uses the legend, extent and projection of the original CAVM. The legend has 16 vegetation types, glacier, saline water, freshwater, and non-arctic land. The Raster CAVM divides the original rock-water-vegetation complex map unit that mapped the Canadian Shield into two map units, distinguishing between areas with lichen- and shrub-dominated vegetation. In contrast to the original hand-drawn CAVM, the new map is based on unsupervised classifications of seventeen geographic/floristic sub-sections of the Arctic, using AVHRR and MODIS data (reflectance and NDVI) and elevation data. The units resulting from the classification were modeled to the CAVM types using a wide variety of ancillary data. The map was reviewed by experts familiar with their particular region, including many of the original authors of the CAVM from Canada, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway (including Svalbard), Russia, and the U.S. The analysis presented here summarizes the area, geographical distribution, elevation, summer temperatures, and NDVI of the map units. The greater spatial resolution of the Raster CAVM allowed more detailed mapping of water-bodies and mountainous areas. It portrays coastal-inland gradients, and better reflects the heterogeneity of vegetation type distribution than the original CAVM. Accuracy assessment of random 1-km pixels interpreted from 6 Landsat scenes showed an average of 70% accuracy, up from 39% for the original CAVM. The distribution of shrub-dominated types changed the most, with more prostrate shrub tundra mapped in mountainous areas, and less low shrub tundra in lowland areas. This improved mapping is important for quantifying existing and potential changes to land cover, a key environmental indicator for modeling and monitoring ecosystems. The final product is publicly available at www.geobotany.uaf.edu and at Mendeley Data, DOI: 10.17632/c4xj5rv6kv.1.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111297
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Volume232
Number of pages12
ISSN0034-4257
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

    Research areas

  • Arctic, Arctic vegetation, AVHRR, CAVM, Land cover classification, MODIS, Treeline

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