Project Summary 

Vegetation is a key indicator of Arctic terrestrial change. Priority terrestrial science topics for ICARP IV will require circumpolar maps and knowledge of the Arctic plant-community composition, distribution, and environmental controls to monitor and model, for example: changes in Arctic plant and animal biodiversity; Arctic soil carbon stocks and emissions; changes to distribution patterns of snow, water, and permafrost; cumulative impacts of infrastructure and climate change; Arctic shrubification and changing greening patterns. In 1992, participants at the first International Workshop on Classification of Arctic Vegetation recognized that classification and mapping of Arctic vegetation is essential to understand the Arctic as a single geo-ecosystem. They resolved to complete three tasks: an Arctic Vegetation plot Archive (AVA), an Arctic Vegetation Classification (AVC), and a Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM). These goals have remained remarkably constant over the past three decades with major accomplishment on all three fronts. They could be fully achieved within the next decade with the help of an endorsement by the ICARP IV to bring several inter-related Arctic Vegetation Science tasks together to develop a coordinated approach to archiving, classifying, mapping, and analyzing Arctic vegetation:

  1. Update the Pan Arctic Species List to include the latest nomenclature for vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, and lichens;
  1. Complete regional vegetation plot archives and classification in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Europe, and Russia;
  1. Unify the regional archives and classifications into a Circumpolar AVA and AVC;
  1. Develop a crosswalk to other approaches including the U.S. EcoVeg approach;
  1. Revive the Circumboreal Vegetation Mapping (CBVM) effort to make a map of the northern boreal subzone; and
  1. Complete circumpolar ecosystem analyses that use the updated classification and maps of the Arctic Tundra and Northern Boreal Forest Zones, including analyses of transitions across the Arctic treeline into the northern boreal forest subzone.

Date and Location: 

21 – 18 March 2025 |  Boulder Colorado, US (ASSW2025)


IASC Working Group / Committees funding the Project:


Project Lead

Donald A. WalkerUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks, USA


Year funded by IASC



Project Status





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