Raster Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map

Published: 16 May 2019 | Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/c4xj5rv6kv.1

Description of this data

Authors: Martha K. Raynolds, Donald A. Walker, Andrew Balser, Christian Bay, Mitch Campbell, Mikhail M. Cherosov, Fred J. A. Daniëls, Pernille Bronken Eidesen, Ksenia A. Ermokhina, Gerald V. Frost, Birgit Jedrzejek, M. Torre Jorgenson, Blair E. Kennedy, Sergei S. Kholod, Igor A. Lavrinenko, Olga V. Lavrinenko, Borgþór Magnússon, Nadezhda V. Matveyeva, Sigmar Metúsalemsson, Lennart Nilsen, Ian Olthof, Igor N. Pospelov, Elena B. Pospelova, Darren Pouliot, Vladimir Razzhivin, Gabriela Schaepman-Strub, Jozef Šibík, Mikhail Yu. Telyatnikov, Elena Troeva.

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.

Experiment data files

Latest version

  • Version 1


    Published: 2019-05-16

    DOI: 10.17632/c4xj5rv6kv.1

    Cite this dataset

    Raynolds, Martha; Walker, Donald (2019), “Raster Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map”, Mendeley Data, v1 http://dx.doi.org/10.17632/c4xj5rv6kv.1


Views: 141
Downloads: 42


University of Alaska Fairbanks


Arctic Tundra, Vegetation Mapping, Land Cover Analysis, Satellite Mapping


CC BY NC 3.0 Learn more

The files associated with this dataset are licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported licence.

What does this mean?
You are free to adapt, copy or redistribute the material, providing you attribute appropriately and do not use the material for commercial purposes.