AVA-AK: Barrow Vegetation Plots (Webber 1978; Villerreal et al. 2013)

Arctic Vegetation Archive-Alaska: Barrow.

The Barrow vegetation plots were originally described and mapped by Dr. Patrick J. Webber in 1972 as part of the International Biological Program (IBP). These sites were resampled in 1999, 2008, and 2010 and assessed for community change as part of the 'IPY Back to the Future: Resampling old research sites to assess changes in high latitude terrestrial ecosystem structure and function project' (NSF Award No. 0732885). The tundra at Barrow is considered coastal tundra located in the most northern region of North Slope and is characterized by various microtopographic features such as polygons, as well as many ponds and lakes.

Forty-three plots (430 sub-plots) were originally established in 1972 and were used to characterize 9 plant communities for the Back to the Future project, including: 1) Aquatic Carex graminoid tundra (53 sub-plots), 2) Creek Arctophila graminoid tundra (20 sub-plots), 3) Pond Arctophila graminoid tundra (10 sub-plots), 4) Seasonally-flooded graminoid tundra (60 sub-plots), 5) Wet graminoid tundra (107 sub-plots), 6) Moist graminoid tundra (69 sub-plots), 7) Dry-moist dwarf-shrub graminoid tundra (40 sub-plots), 8) Dry dwarf-shrub graminoid tundra (50 sub-plots) and 9) Successional dry dwarf-shrub graminoid tundra (21 sub-plots).

Each vegetation site consists of a 1m x 10m belt with a 1m x 10cm strip along the inside. Each site is divided into 10 sub-plots in which species percent cover is visually estimated in the 1m x 10cm strip and species presence in the 1m x 90cm sub-plot. The vegetation plot data chosen for inclusion in the Alaska-AVA are summaries of the 10 1m x 1m sub-plots.

Original data from 1972 were classified and community descriptions were published as a report and as a component of the IBP book (Webber 1978, Webber et al. 1980). These data and their corresponding resampling data from 1999, 2008, and 2010 for the 33 relocated sites (330 sub-plots) were assessed for change and published (Villarreal et al. 2012).


Tweedie, Craig (2013): IPY Back to the Future (BTF): Re-sampling old research sites to assess change in high latitude terrestrial ecosystem structure and function. UCAR/NCAR - CISL - ACADIS. Dataset. Updated August 12, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.5065/D6XS5SD1

Villarreal, S., R. D. Hollister, D. R. Johnson, M. J. Lara, P. J. Webber, and C. E. Tweedie. 2012. Tundra vegetation change near Barrow, Alaska (1972–2010). Environmental Research Letters 7: 015508.

Villarreal, S. 2013. International Polar Year (IPY) Back to the Future (BTF): Changes in arctic ecosystem structure over decadal time scales. PhD thesis, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA.

Webber, P. J. 1978. Spatial and temporal variation of the vegetation and its production, Barrow, Alaska. Pages 37-112 in L. L. Tieszen, editor. Vegetation and Production Ecology of an Alaskan Arctic Tundra. Springer-Verlag, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Webber, P. J., P. C. Miller, F. S. Chapin III, and B. H. McCown. 1980. The Vegetation Pattern and Succession. An Arctic ecosystem: the coastal tundra at Barrow, Alaska. Hutchinson & Ross, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Data Curator None
Last Updated September 16, 2020, 14:53 (+0200)
Created September 16, 2020, 14:53 (+0200)
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