The AAGA grew out of the Toolik-Arctic Geobotanical Atlas (TAGA), an online collection of multi-scale geobotanical maps, photos, and supporting data developed by the AGC and several collaborators in the early 2000s with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF grant ARC-0425517). Learn more about the TAGA
The next iteration of the AAGA joined the Toolik-Alaska map archive with vegetation plot data from many of the same research sites, as well as with plot data from other vegetation scientists who have worked in Arctic and near-Arctic Atlas. The expanded atlas was built with gLynx, a proprietary data portal solution developed by the Geographic Information Network of Alaska (GINA) at UAF. It was funded during the preliminary phase of the NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program's Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE). The focus of the AAGA and other pre-ABoVE projects was to provide the information needed for ongoing policy discussions and the development of options for societal responses to the impacts of environmental change in the Arctic and Boral Region. This includes important legacy vegetation data collected over decades by a generation of scientists.
In 2020, GINA discontinued gLynx and moved the data portal to the open-source CKAN platform. At the same time, navigation and usability improveemnts were made and an ArcGIS Online companion site added to improve map-based browsing and data discovery. Funding from the Arctic Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (ArcSEES) project (NSF grant #1263854) made these improvements in data exploration and sustainability of the AAGA possible.
What's next? The AAVA is a prototype database for an Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA). The goal of the AVA is to unite and harmonize the vegetation data from the Arctic tundra biome for use in developing a pan-Arctic vegetation classification and to facilitate research on vegetation and biodiversity change and ecosystem models. This open-access database will be the first to represent an entire global biome.
The Alaska Geobotany Center (AGC) is dedicated to understanding northern ecosystems through the use of geographic information systems, remote sensing, field experiments, and cooperative team research projects. We share a commitment to excellence in field research and teaching with the goal of inspiring an appreciation of northern ecosystems and making our research and teaching relevant to societal issues and concerns, particularly issues relevant to the state of Alaska.
Ecological studies use a hierarchical approach to examine landscape pattern and change at several scales. Primary areas of interest include vegetation classification, analysis of vegetation and landscape patterns as they relate to environmental variables, geobotanical mapping, snow ecology, appropriate land-use planning, and analysis of disturbance and recovery in northern regions.
AGC's educational role includes assisting and guiding undergraduates with independent research projects, offering summer research opportunities, teaching courses in the Department of Biology and Wildlife, and mentoring graduate students. The cornerstone of our teaching philosophy is practical training within a solid theoretical framework. AGC also strives to serve the broader community by directing our research and teaching to increase public awareness of the importance of northern ecosystems as they relate to local, regional, and global societal issues, including the human dimensions of land-use and climate.