AVA-AK: Arrigetch Peaks (Cooper 1983)

Arctic Vegetation Archive - Alaska: Arrigetch Peaks.

The vegetation of Arrigetch Peaks was described and mapped by David J. Cooper for his PhD thesis funded by National Park Service. Located in the Endicott Mountains of the central Brooks Range, the vegetation of the Arrigetch Peaks is uniquely influenced by both latitude and altitude (Cooper 1986b). A reconnaissance of the area was completed in in 1976, while most of the data were collected during the years 1978-1980. The primary source documents for this dataset are a PhD thesis (Cooper 1983) and a research paper (Cooper 1986b).

Species data are presented for 439 plots which include: 5 orders, 10 alliances, and 49 associations that are described according to Braun-Banquet system. Plots were located in 13 broad habitat types including: 1) aquatic wetlands (5 plots), 2) wet tundra (17 plots), 3) wet and late-lying mostly mossy snowbed communities (11), 4) moist to wet riparian shrublands and subalpine scrubland (59 plots), 5) moist to wet alder shrublands (13 plots), 6) moist to wet acidic dwarf-shrub tundra (58 plots), 7) moist to dry low-shrub tundra on south-facing slopes (6 plots), 8) moist nonacidic graminoid-dominated tundra (22 plots), 9) dry graminoid and forb dominated communities (109 plots), 10) dry acidic dwarf-shrub tundra (13 plots), 11) dry dwarf-shrub snowbed communities (84 plots), 12) dry to wet barrens, pioneering communities, crevice communities (28 plots), and 13) other communities-Saxicolous lichen communities and moss communities on acidic rocks (17 plots).

The size and shape of each plot was not standardized and plots were not permanently marked. Minimal areas of various communities were calculated using standard methods (Westhoff and Maarel 1978, Mueller-Dombois and Ellenberg 1975, Shimwell 1971). Areas for communities dominated by cryptogams were 1 to 4 square meters, for grassy open communities plots were 16 to 36 square meters, and for communities with very widely scattered shrub coverage, plots were up to 50 square meters. Accurate geolocations for plots are not available, however a map of the study area (Cooper 1983) is presented. Environmental data collected include aspect, elevation, and cover of bare soil, rock, soil crust, and litter.


Cooper, D. J. 1983. Arctic-alpine tundra ecosystems of the Arrigetch Creek valley, central Brooks Range, Alaska. PhD thesis, University of Colorado, USA.

Cooper, D. J. 1986a. White spruce above and beyond treeline in the Arrigetch Peaks region, Brooks Range, Alaska. Arctic 39:247-252.

Cooper, D. J. 1986b. Arctic-alpine tundra vegetation of the Arrigetch Creek Valley, Brooks Range, Alaska. Phytocoenologia 14:467-555.

Cooper, D. J. 1989a. Geographical and ecological relationships of the Arctic-alpine vascular flora and vegetation, Arrigetch Peaks region, central Brooks Range, Alaska. Journal of Biogeography 16:279-295.

Cooper, D. J. 1989b. Typification of associations described in ‘Arctic-alpine tundra vegetation of the Arrigetch Creek Valley, Brooks Range, Alaska.’ Phytocoenologia 18:159-160.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Author David J. Cooper
Last Updated December 1, 2020, 11:06 (AKST)