AVA-AK: Happy Valley Vegetation Plots (Walker et al. 1997)

Arctic Vegetation Archive - Alaska: Happy Valley Vegetation Plots.

The Happy Valley research site is located along the Sagavanirktok River in a glaciated valley of the northern Arctic Foothills of the Brooks Range. Vegetation of the Happy Valley research site was described and mapped by Walker et al. through the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, Tundra Ecosystem Analysis and Mapping Laboratory, for a project funded by the Arctic System Science Flux Study, National Science Foundation grant OPP-9318530. The primary source document for this dataset is a data report prepared for the project (Walker et al. 1997).

Data are presented for 56 plots subjectively located in 17 plant communities that occur in five broad habitat types including: 1) dry tundra (including river terraces and frost scars) (10 plots), 2) snowbeds (2 plots), 3) moist tundra (including acidic tussock tundra and nonacidic tundra) (14 plots), 4) shrublands (including riparian alders, riparian willow communities, and dwarf-birch shrub tundra) (16 plots), and 5) wet tundra (including fens, poor fens, and aquatic marshes) (14 plots).

All the plots were permanently marked with a 4-foot black and white-striped 1-inch PVC pipe with the plot number stamped into an aluminum tag at the top of the post. The plots had no fixed size in order to obtain a complete species list, however the size of the plots were estimated and are included in the data. Species and environmental data (including soil physical variables, subjective site assessments, and active layer depths) were collected in the field and soil samples were brought back to the lab for chemical assessments. Species cover-abundance, environmental site factors, and soil physical and chemical data are included in the data report. GPS coordinates were obtained for many plots in the mid-2000’s. An aerial photograph and Google Earth were used to approximate the location and obtain coordinates for the remaining plots.

These data were subsequently used in several reports and publications listed below.


Kane, D. L., and W. S. Reeburgh. 1998. Introduction to special section: Land-Air-Ice Interactions (LAII) Flux Study. Journal of Geophysical Research 103:28-913-28-915.

McGuire, A. D., M. Sturm, and F. S. Chapin III. 2003. Arctic Transitions in the Land-Atmosphere System (ATLAS): Background, objectives, results, and future directions. Journal of Geophysical Research 108:8166 (ALT1-7).

Raynolds, M. K., D. A. Walker, and C. R. Martin. 2004. Biocomplexity of Frost-Boil Ecosystems: Snow Data Report. Alaska Geobotany Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA.

Walker, D. A., N. A. Auerbach, T. K. Nettleton, A. Gallant, and S. M. Murphy. 1997. Arctic System Science Flux Study Data Report. Happy Valley Vegetation Plots: Site factors, physical and chemical soil properties, plant species cover, photographs, soil descriptions, and ordination. Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Last Updated November 24, 2020, 08:40 (AKST)