Graphics & Data : Vegetation

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Chapter 3.1: Vegetation

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CBMP: Vegetation network


Key Findings

  • There is considerable spatial and temporal heterogeneity in vegetation development in the Arctic; some areas show increases in production and abundance, while others are decreasing or remaining stable. However, remote sensing shows that since 2001 there has been a significant increase in vegetation productivity across the entire Arctic.
  • Responses to climate change include an increase in the abundance of shrubs and grasses and a decrease in lichens and mosses.
  • Non-native plant species are increasingly moving into the Arctic and are largely found localised in areas with human activity. Between 2013 and 2019 the numbers of non-native plants detected increased by 80%, to 341. Most are still non-invasive.
  • Experimental warming has shown that green-up and flowering can happen earlier. This trend has also been found in many plot-based monitoring studies, although not as conclusively. Remote sensing indicates an earlier start of the season in the most southern and middle latitude regions of the Arctic.
  • There is a need for more long-term monitoring on all FECs. 

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Monitoring Advice

Monitoring of vegetation is inconsistent, with large gaps in geographical cover. Of the four FECs for monitoring vegetation, the START was able to report on all plants, species of concern, and invasive alien species. Food species were not included as data were too disparate.

  • Investigate causality in vegetation change in the context of ecosystem components, including habitat specific drivers, particularly climate, and emphasize ecosystem-based approaches.
  • Continue and expand in situ time series.
  • Utilize plot-based vegetation surveys to provide insight into vegetation changes and improve the ability to predict environmental change impacts on tundra ecosystems.
  • Better consider the expected impacts of biotic and abiotic drivers on vegetation change when developing monitoring programs and conceptual models.
  • Use regional and global remote-sensing products with higher spatial and temporal resolution.
  • Increase monitoring efforts for all FECs, and target efforts to address data gaps, such as for food species.

Status of monitoring of essential and recommended attributes for vegetation in Arctic terrestrial environments.Status of monitoring of essential and recommended attributes for vegetation in Arctic terrestrial environments.

Download the SAFBR Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring

Download the SAFBR full report

Download the SAFBR Key Findings and Advice for Monitoring

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