An Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA), an essential first step in developing a panarctic ecological information system for use in research, nature conservation, education and policy making. This would be the first vegetation database to encompass an entire global biome.

This is achievable because the Arctic is the only biome that has its entire list of known plants, including about 2870 vascular plants, 900 mosses and 1600 lichens, documented in up-to-date flora checklists developed by taxonomists within the CAFF Flora Group. The AVA would provide a solid foundation for vegetation analysis and a wide variety of circumpolar conservation and biodiversity studies.

The goals of the project are to:

  1. produce a complete list of vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens that exist in the Arctic species,
  2. compile an extensive database of Arctic vegetation plots, and 
  3. produce a comprehensive list of arctic plant communities. All of these data will be easily accessible, permanently hosted, and updatable.

A vascular plant list of approximately 2870 taxa is currently being compiled in Norway. 

The lichen species list of approximately 1699 lichen species and 331 species of lichenicolous fungi is being compiled in Iceland. 

The bryophyte species list is being compiled in Canada, including 542 species of moss, 205 liverworts for Eurasia and 800 mosses for North America.

Data on all species will be available on the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service (ABDS) soon.

Why create an AVA?

  1. development of an international approach to address pressing science questions that have been spurred by the rapid climate and land-use changes occurring in the Arctic, 
  2. harmonization of the North American and European approaches for archiving and classifying Arctic vegetation, and 
  3. archiving legacy vegetation datasets that are in danger of being lost.  

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