AVA-AK: Kotzebue Vegetation Plots (Hanson 1951)

Arctic Vegetation Archive - Alaska: Western Alaska Vegetation Plots.

Sampling of grassland, marsh and other plant communities across Alaska was completed by Hanson (1951) to learn about community floristic composition, cover, frequency, environmental relationships, geographic distribution, and relationships between communities and plant succession. Stands were sampled in the vicinity of Kodiak, Homer, Eklutna, Goose Bay, Knik Flats, Wasilla, Talkeetna Mountains, Palmer, Upper Matanuska Valley, Susitna River Canyon, McKinley (Denali) National Park, Healy, Tanana Valley, Donnelly Dome, Eagle Summit, and Kotzebue. The work was funded in part by the Arctic Institute of North America with funds provided by the Office of Naval Research.

Plant communities identified through this study were very broadly grouped as follows: 1) Elymus mollis to meadow communities on sandy seacoasts and estuaries (9 stands), 2) Communities on silty estuaries and coasts (9 stands), 3) Communities on lowlands in the vicinity of Kotzebue (4 stands), 4) Cliff meadow communities, Kodiak Island (2 stands), 5) Tall grass-forbs communities with Calamagrostis canadensis as the dominant (7 stands), 6) Medium tall grass-forb communities with Festuca altaica as the dominant (6 stands), 7) Agropyron trachycaulum communities (2 stands), 8) Miscellaneous upland communities (6 stands), 9) Upland marsh and meadow communities (7 stands), 10) Upland bogs (2 stands), 11) Dryas communities (3 stands), and 12) Luetkia pectinata communities (2 stands). Brief descriptive environmental data and soils information are available for many of the stands.

In 1949 and 1950, cover and frequency data were collected from 59 stands using the point-contact method. Stands were defined as readily recognizable homogenous groups of species in an area. Within each stand, the frame containing 10 rods was set 20 times, spaced about 15 feet apart or in 1 or 2 lines located in the well-developed part of the stand. There is no indication that stands were permanently marked. Plants species were collected as necessary and deposited in the Langlois Herbarium of The Catholic University of America, the National Herbarium, J.P. Anderson Herbarium at Iowa State College, and at W.C. Steer’s moss herbarium at Stanford University.

These data are not archived in the Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive’s Turboveg database because they do not satisfy the criteria of having complete species lists with associated cover abundance values. The data is available in the following publication.


Hanson, H. C. 1951. Characteristics of some grassland, marsh, and other plant communities in Western Alaska. Ecology 21:317-378.

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Last Updated November 24, 2020, 08:42 (AKST)