The Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM) project is an international effort to map the vegetation and associated characteristics of the circumpolar region, using a common base map.

The map uses a false color infrared image created from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite data as the base map. A composite image was created by selecting pixels of maximum reflectance from 1993 and 1995 data. Mapping efforts in Canada, Norway, Greenland, Russia, Iceland and the United States used uniform methods to integrate information on bioclimatic zones, bedrock, surficial geology, acidity of parent material, soils, hydrology, remotely-sensed vegetation classification, Normalized Difference of Vegetation Index (NDVI), previous vegetation studies, and the regional expertise of the mapping scientists.

Environmental and climatic conditions in the Arctic are extreme, with a short growing season and low summer temperatures. The region support plants such as dwarf shrubs, herbs, lichens and mosses, which grow close to the ground.

Warmer summer temperatures cause the size, abundance, and variety of plants to increase. Climate and other environmental controls, such as landscape, topography, soil chemistry, soil moisture, and the available plants that historically colonized an area, also influence the distribution of plant communities.  The colors on the map indicate the differences that occur in the general outward appearance of vegetation.  


Alaskan Alaska Arctic Tundra Vegetation

Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM) (Front)

Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM) (Back)


Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Classification in Phytocoenologia


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